Obesity is characterized by fat accumulation, chronic inflammation and impaired satiety signaling, which may be due in part to gut microbial dysbiosis. Manipulations of the gut microbiota and its metabolites are attractive targets for obesity treatment. The predominant oligosaccharide found in human milk, acts as a prebiotic with beneficial effects on the host. However, little is known about the beneficial effects of 2′-FL in obesity. The aim of this study was to determine the beneficial effects of 2′-FL supplementation on the microbiota-gut-brain axis and the diet-induced obese phenotype in high fat (HF)-fed mice. Male C57/BL6 mice (n
= 6/group; six weeks old) were counter-balanced into six weight-matched groups and fed either a low-fat (LF; 10% kcal as fat), HF (45% kcal as fat) or HF diet with 2′-FL (HF_2′-FL) at 1, 2, 5 and 10% (w
) in drinking water for six weeks. General phenotypes (body weight, energy intake, fat and lean mass), cecal microbiome and metabolites, gut-brain signaling, intestinal permeability and inflammatory and lipid profiles were assessed. Only 10% 2′-FL, but not 1, 2 or 5%, decreased HF diet-induced increases in energy intake, fat mass and body weight gain. A supplementation of 10% 2′-FL changed the composition of cecal microbiota and metabolites compared to LF- and HF-fed mice with an increase in Parabacteroides
abundance and lactate and pyruvate, respectively, whose metabolic effects corresponded to our study findings. In particular, 10% 2′-FL significantly reversed the HF diet-induced impairment of cholecystokinin-induced inhibition of food intake. Gene expressions of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 in the cecum were significantly downregulated by 10% 2′-FL compared to the HF group. Furthermore, 10% 2′-FL suppressed HF diet-induced upregulation of hepatic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, a transcription factor for adipogenesis, at the gene level. In conclusion, 10% 2′-FL led to compositional changes in gut microbiota and metabolites associated with improvements in metabolic profiles and gut-brain signaling in HF-fed mice. These findings support the use of 2′-FL for modulating the hyperphagic response to HF diets and improving the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
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