Alterations in the way the gut metabolizes the fatty acid butyrate have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease. A recent genetic analysis suggests that reduced intestinal synthesis of butyrate may be the result of a low fiber diet. Study highlights include:
- Investigators measured the butyryl-CoA:acetate CoA transferase (BCoAT) genes in the stool of healthy persons, and in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis using polymerase chain reaction.
- Disease activity for Crohn’s and colitis were measured by means of fecal calprotectin concentration and clinical evaluation.
- A drop in the ability to synthesize butyrate was found in patients with both active and inactive Crohn’s disease but only in active ulcerative colitis.
- The reduced butyrate synthesizing enzyme levels—as indicated by the lower gene content—was associated with increased inflammation, stenotic behavior, lower microbial diversity, and other abnormalities.
- Reduced BCoAT gene levels were also associated with a diet lower in fiber.
Laserna-Mendieta EJ, Clooney AJ, Carretero-Gomez JF, et al. Determinants of reduced genetic capacity for butyrate synthesis by the gut microbiome in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. J Crohns Colitis. 2018;12:204-216. doi:10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjx137.
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