Reference Number: 148
Health: Gut Microbiome
The intestinal microbiota plays a central role in the development of many chronic inflammatory diseases including IBD and metabolic syndrome. Administration of substances that alter microbiota composition, including the synthetic dietary emulsifiers polysorbate 80 (P80) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), can promote such inflammatory disorders. However, that inflammation itself impacts microbiota composition has obfuscated defining the extent to which these compounds or other substances act directly upon the microbiota versus acting on host parameters that promote inflammation, which subsequently reshapes the microbiota. CMC and P80 are commonly used synthetic emulsifiers that are added to a variety of processed foods to enhance texture and extend shelf-life. Based on the extent of their usage, and the notion that their detergent properties might promote bacterial changes across mucosal surfaces, these emulsifiers are hypothesised to have contributed to increased incidence of chronic gut inflammatory diseases.
The current study examined the direct impact of CMC and P80 on the microbiota using an artificial model system (a mucosal simulator of the human intestinal microbial ecosystem (M-SHIME) model) that maintains a complex stable human microbiota in the absence of a live host. The results of the current study showed that administration of CMC and P80 to mice resulted in microbiota encroachment into the mucus, alterations in microbiota composition, including an increase of bacteria that produced pro-inflammatory flagellin (FliC) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and development of chronic inflammation.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
The emulsifiers CMC and P80 are used in a variety of foods including supermarket breads where these compounds are used as bread improvers to control the size of gas bubbles, enable the dough to hold more gas and therefore grow bigger and make the crumb softer. The current study strongly suggest that the gut microbiota is one direct important target of the commonly used food additives CMC and P80 resulting in chronic inflammation and increasing the risk of gut inflammatory diseases.