A study which was led by University of Cincinnati (UC) lipid metabolism researchers, highlights how bacteria in the gut, or lack of it influences intestinal mast cells (MMC) activation and maybe the absorption of fat. The study which is called “Antibiotics Suppress Activation of Intestinal Mucosal Mast Cells and Reduce Dietary Lipid Absorption in Sprague-Dawley Rats”, is currently available in the online edition of Gastroenterology.
As said by the study’s principal investigator Patrick Tso, PhD, Mary Emery Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, “A change in the absorption of fat is very important for the development of obesity studies.” Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health problems according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the study which was funded by NIH R01 DK092138, Tso and his team compared the absorption of intestinal fat and mast cell activation in rodents placed on the antibiotic to clear their systems of bacteria and a control group, and then introduced lipids (fats) to both groups.
“Our results suggest that the presence of gut microbiota is involved in MMC activation, induced by the ingestion of fat, and contributes to fat-induced permeability,” says Tso, adding that the study also found a “novel role of the gut microbiome in the promoting the absorption of lipids.”
Mast cells are closely involved with the body’s immune system. They come from the bone marrow and go into all body tissues. According to Tso, mast cells also play a very important role in defending the gastrointestinal tract against foreign organisms. “This effect is specific to fat, since the absorption of carbohydrates or protein does not activate mucosal mast cells,” says Tso.