Our studies investigate the role of butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by bacteria from indigestible fiber in the human gut. Butyrate serves as the predominant source of energy for colonic epithelial cells and additionally, it promotes anti-inflammatory activities in macrophages and suppresses the proliferation of epithelial stem cells. It is unclear whether all effects of butyrate are beneficial. Our results correlate the inhibition of a gene-regulating human enzymes (histone deacetylases, HDACs) by SCFAs, with the two physiological responses of epithelial cells, and show that these biological activities are selective for butyrate. The correlation between the biochemical and cell-biological data provides experimental evidence relevant to questions about the mechanisms of action of butyrate on colonic epithelial cells, and supports the hypothesis that crypts and commensal bacteria co-evolved in the gut.
The IGI seminar series features a diverse range of speakers focusing on a variety of topics related to the Institute’s research programs. Following all seminars, attendees are invited to stay for a free lunch and talk with the seminar speaker.
Microbial Short-Chain Fatty Acids, Inflammation, and the Gut
Postdoc, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
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