Dietary flaxseed intake exacerbates acute colonic mucosal injury and inflammation induced by dextran sodium sulfate.Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014 Jun 15; 306(12):G1042-55.AJ
Flaxseed (FS), a dietary oilseed, contains a variety of anti-inflammatory bioactives, including fermentable fiber, phenolic compounds (lignans), and the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) α-linolenic acid. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of FS and its n-3 PUFA-rich kernel or lignan- and soluble fiber-rich hull on colitis severity in a mouse model of acute colonic inflammation. C57BL/6 male mice were fed a basal diet (negative control) or a basal diet supplemented with 10% FS, 6% kernel, or 4% hull for 3 wk prior to and during colitis induction via 5 days of 2% (wt/vol) dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in their drinking water (n = 12/group). An increase in anti-inflammatory metabolites (hepatic n-3 PUFAs, serum mammalian lignans, and cecal short-chain fatty acids) was associated with consumption of all FS-based diets, but not with anti-inflammatory effects in DSS-exposed mice. Dietary FS exacerbated DSS-induced acute colitis, as indicated by a heightened disease activity index and an increase in colonic injury and inflammatory biomarkers [histological damage, apoptosis, myeloperoxidase, inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-1β), and NF-κB signaling-related genes (Nfkb1, Ccl5, Bcl2a1a, Egfr, Relb, Birc3, and Atf1)]. Additionally, the adverse effect of the FS diet was extended systemically, as serum cytokines (IL-6, IFNγ, and IL-1β) and hepatic cholesterol levels were increased. The adverse effects of FS were not associated with alterations in fecal microbial load or systemic bacterial translocation (endotoxemia). Collectively, this study demonstrates that although consumption of a 10% FS diet enhanced the levels of n-3 PUFAs, short-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and lignans in mice, it exacerbated DSS-induced colonic injury and inflammation.