Understanding the role of dietary phytochemicals and vitamin B12 in host-microbe interactions to support host gut integrity and health

  • Author / Creator
    Forgie, Andrew
  • Diet is a strong modifier of gut host-microbe interactions that alter host physiology and immunity against pathogenic bacteria. Some dietary components are required to support host defences that maintain gut homeostasis and symbiosis, whereas others can be detrimental, leading to changes in microbial communities and impaired intestinal barrier function and immunity. In this thesis, a mouse model of infectious Citrobacter rodentium was used to challenge the effects of phytochemical and vitamin B12 consumption on intestinal ecology and integrity to promote health.
    The fiber and phytochemical content in the seed coat of peas (Pisum sativum) has been associated with beneficial health outcomes, including weight and cardiovascular health; however, the indirect effects of peas by host-microbe interactions remain poorly understood. To determine the effect of pea phytochemicals and fiber on host-microbe interactions and intestinal health, the seed coat of two cultivars of peas rich and poor in proanthocyanidins were fed to mice as raw or acid hydrolyzed fractions. In accordance with a previous study, the acid hydrolyzed anthocyanidin fraction reduced weight gain in mice fed a high fat diet. Supplementation of both pea seed coat fractions altered the microbial communities and encouraged pathogen colonization by day three post-infection; however, the proanthocyanidin containing diet had a more robust antimicrobial affect and consistently led to higher pathogen loads as determined by fecal enumeration. Acid hydrolysis processing to both pea fractions reduced the effects on the microbiota and ability of C. rodentium to colonize the gut. In addition, pea phytochemicals increased mucin accumulation in the intestinal lumen, and this may have contributed to the improved ability of C. rodentium to colonize the gut. This study shows how pea phytochemicals
    directly contributes to microbial ecology and provides insight into how their antimicrobial and mucin accumulating activities affect the gut environment and pathogen colonization resistance.
    The effect of mucin accumulation in the gastrointestinal lumen in response to phytochemicals has previously been associated with beneficial health outcomes. Since our study shows that increased mucin corresponded with higher levels of C. rodentium colonization, we set out to determine the contributions of mucin to gut ecology and the dietary phytochemicals that stimulate their effects in the gut. Germ-free mice fed the proanthocyanidin-rich containing fraction stimulated mucin accumulation in the feces, indicating that phytochemicals directly impact the mucus layer independently of the microbiota. Supplementing both the red-osier dogwood extract, a hydrolysable tannin, and our non-hydrolysable proanthocyanidin-rich pea fraction led to greater mucin levels in the feces of conventional mice compared to control. The increase in mucin corresponded to an enrichment in Lachnospiraceae and Clostridium leptum species and a reduction in Romboutsia species in the colon. This study provides insight into how dietary phytochemicals impact specific members of the Firmicutes population and shows that a common compound is likely directing the increased fecal mucin phenotype independently of the gut microbiota.
    Vitamin B12 is a known modulator of the microbial ecosystem. To determine how B12 impacts the gastrointestinal microbiota, we supplemented it in drinking water at 100 times the amount found in diet and challenged mice with C. rodentium. Survival and early colonization models show that mice supplemented B12 were more susceptible to pathogen colonization and virulence. Cecal meta-transcriptomics revealed that the activities of the Firmicutes population was altered by B12 supplementation and this contributed to a more virulent C. rodentium population as confirmed by reduced glucosidase activity and increased virulence genes. In

    addition, host interleukin-12p40 cytokine levels were higher from B12 supplementation prior to infection and was determined to be dependent on the microbiota.
    Collectively, this thesis adds to our understanding of diet-microbe-host interactions that impact intestinal integrity as to improve nutritional strategies and therapies to combat infectious disease and improve health.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.