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Nutrition. 2012 Mar;28(3):324-30. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.07.018. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Influence of dietary blueberry and broccoli on cecal microbiota activity and colon morphology in mdr1a(-/-) mice, a model of inflammatory bowel diseases.

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The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 92169, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.



Enteric microbiota has been shown to be associated with various pathological conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study aimed to determine the anti-inflammatory colonic effects of blueberries and broccoli in mdr1a(-/-) mice (IBD mouse model) through modification of microbiota composition in the gastrointestinal tract.


The mdr1a(-/-) mice were fed either a control diet or the control diet supplemented with either 10% blueberry or broccoli for 21 wk. We investigated the influence of these diets on cecal microbiota and organic acids, colon morphology, and bacterial translocation to mesenteric lymph nodes.


In comparison to mice fed the control diet, blueberry and broccoli supplementation altered cecum microbiota similarly with the exception of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, which was found to be significantly lower in broccoli-fed mice. High concentrations of butyric acid and low concentrations of succinic acid were observed in the cecum of broccoli-fed mice. Blueberry- and broccoli-supplemented diets increased colon crypt size and the number of goblet cells per crypt. Only the broccoli-supplemented diet significantly lowered colonic inflammation compared to mice fed the control diet. Translocation of total microbes to mesenteric lymph nodes was lower in broccoli-fed mice compared to blueberry and control diet groups.


Dietary blueberries and/or broccoli altered the composition and metabolism of the cecal microbiota and colon morphology. Overall, these results warrant further investigation through clinical studies to establish whether the consumption of blueberries and/or broccoli is able to alter the composition and metabolism of large intestine microbiota and promote colon health in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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