The Journal of nutritional biochemistry

Suppressive effect of short-chain fatty acids on production of proinflammatory mediators by neutrophils.

PMID 21167700


Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are fermentation products of anaerobic bacteria. More than just being an important energy source for intestinal epithelial cells, these compounds are modulators of leukocyte function and potential targets for the development of new drugs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of SCFAs (acetate, propionate and butyrate) on production of nitric oxide (NO) and proinflammatory cytokines [tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-2 (CINC-2αβ)] by rat neutrophils. The involvement of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) was examined. The effect of butyrate was also investigated in vivo after oral administration of tributyrin (a pro-drug of butyrate). Propionate and butyrate diminished TNF-α, CINC-2αβ and NO production by LPS-stimulated neutrophils. We also observed that these fatty acids inhibit HDAC activity and NF-κB activation, which might be involved in the attenuation of the LPS response. Products of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase are not involved in the effects of SCFAs as indicated by the results obtained with the inhibitors of these enzymes. The recruitment of neutrophils to the peritonium after intraperitoneal administration of a glycogen solution (1%) and the ex vivo production of cytokines and NO by neutrophils were attenuated in rats that previously received tributyrin. These results argue that this triglyceride may be effective in the treatment of inflammatory conditions.