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J Nutr Biochem. 2012 May;23(5):430-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Oral administration of sodium butyrate attenuates inflammation and mucosal lesion in experimental acute ulcerative colitis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 30161-970 Brazil.


Butyrate is a four-carbon short-chain fatty acid that improves colonic trophism. Although several studies have shown the benefits of butyrate enemas in ulcerative colitis (UC), studies using the oral route are rare in the literature. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of butyrate intake in the immune response associated to UC. For that, mice were fed control or butyrate (0.5% sodium butyrate) diets for 14 days. Acute UC was induced by dextran sulphate sodium (DSS, 2.5%), replacing drinking water. The results showed that, in UC animals, oral butyrate significantly improved trophism and reduced leukocyte (eosinophil and neutrophil) infiltration in the colon mucosa and improved the inflammatory profile (activated macrophage, B and T lymphocytes) in cecal lymph nodes. In the small intestine, although mucosa histology was similar among groups, DSS treatment reduced duodenal transforming growth factor-β, increased interleukin-10 concentrations and increased memory T lymphocytes and dendritic cells in Peyer's patches. Butyrate supplementation was able to revert these alterations. When cecal butyrate concentration was analyzed in cecal content, it was still higher in the healthy animals receiving butyrate than in the UC+butyrate and control groups. In conclusion, our results show that oral administration of sodium butyrate improves mucosa lesion and attenuates the inflammatory profile of intestinal mucosa, local draining lymph nodes and Peyer's patches of DSS-induced UC. Our results also highlight the potential use of butyrate supplements as adjuvant in UC treatment.

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