Food & function

Beneficial effects of soy milk and fiber on high cholesterol diet-induced alteration of gut microbiota and inflammatory gene expression in rats.

PMID 25477035


We sought to evaluate whether a soy milk and fiber mixture could improve high cholesterol diet-induced changes in gut microbiota and inflammation. Sprague-Dawley rats were administered four different diets: CTRL (AIN76A diet), CHOL (AIN76A with 1% (w/w) cholesterol), SOY (CHOL diet, 20% of which was substituted with freeze-dried soy milk), or S.FIBER (SOY diet with 1.2% (w/w) psyllium, 6.2% (w/w) resistant maltodextrin, and 6.2% (w/w) chicory powder). A lipid profile and gene expression analysis demonstrated that SOY and S.FIBER improved the serum HDL-cholesterol and colonic expression levels of genes in tight junction (ZO-1 and occludin) and inflammation-related (IL-1β, IL-10, and Foxp3) proteins. S.FIBER lowered the serum MCP-1 concentration as well. A gut microbial analysis revealed that CHOL increased the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (F/B ratio). SOY increased the F/B ratio due to an increased proportion of Lactobacillus spp. S.FIBER greatly decreased the F/B ratio. Allobaculum spp. and Parabacteroides spp. exhibited a negative correlation with colonic expression of anti-inflammatory genes such as Foxp3, IL-10, occludin and ZO-1. CHOL increased the relative proportions of Allobaculum spp. and Parabacteroides spp. in the gut, while SOY and S.FIBER decreased these proportions. Diets containing soy milk and fiber mixtures could be beneficial by limiting CHOL-induced colonic inflammation and rescuing CHOL-disturbed gut microbiota.