Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2012 Nov 15;527(2):105-12. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Cocoa modulatory effect on rat faecal microbiota and colonic crosstalk.

Author information

Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Previous studies have reported the effect of a cocoa-enriched diet on the intestinal immune system in rats. Cocoa contains fibre and polyphenols that can directly influence the intestinal ecosystem and its relationship with the immune system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a cocoa-enriched diet on gut microbiota, toll-like receptor (TLR) expression and immunoglobulin (Ig) A (IgA) intestinal secretion in rats. Four-week-old Wistar rats were fed a standard or cocoa diet for 6 weeks. Faecal samples were collected before the beginning of the diet and at the end of the study. After the nutritional intervention, colon samples were obtained to quantify TLR and IgA gene expression and IgA protein. Microbiota composition was characterized by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) coupled to flow cytometry (FCM) analysis using specific probes directed to 16S rRNA of the main bacteria genus present in rat intestine. The cocoa dietary intervention resulted in a differential TLR pattern and a decrease in the intestinal IgA secretion and IgA-coating bacteria. Moreover there was a significant decrease in the proportion of Bacteroides, Clostridium and Staphylococcus genera in the faeces of cocoa-fed animals. In conclusion, cocoa intake affects the growth of certain species of gut microbiota in rats and is associated with changes in the TLR pattern which could be responsible for the changes observed in the intestinal immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center