Examining the effects of a high fat diet on the development of metabolic syndrome and gut leakiness in male Sprague-Dawley rats

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The prevalence of obesity and obesity-related disorders have increased world-wide. In the last decade, the intestinal microbiome has become a major indicator of metabolic and gastrointestinal health. Previous research has

The prevalence of obesity and obesity-related disorders have increased world-wide. In the last decade, the intestinal microbiome has become a major indicator of metabolic and gastrointestinal health. Previous research has shown that high-fat diet (HFD) consumption can alter the microbial composition of the gut by increasing the abundance of gram-positive bacteria associated with the onset of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although, the most common form of obesity and metabolic syndrome intervention is exercise and diet, these recommendations may not improve severe cases of obesity. Thus, an important relevance of my project was to investigate whether the intake of an organometallic complex (OMC) would prevent the onset of metabolic and gastrointestinal complications associated with high-fat diet intake. I hypothesized that the consumption of a HFD for 6 weeks would promote the development of metabolic and gastrointestinal disease risk factors. Next, it was hypothesized that OMC treatment would decrease metabolic risk factors by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing weight gain. Finally, I hypothesized that HFD-intake would increase the abundance of gram-positive bacteria associated with gastrointestinal disease. My preliminary data investigated the effects of a 6-week HFD on the development of hepatic steatosis, intestinal permeability and inflammation in male Sprague Dawley rats. I found that a 6-week HFD increases hepatic triglyceride concentrations, plasma endotoxins and promotes the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the cecum wall. I then investigated whether OMC treatment could prevent metabolic risk factors in male Sprague-Dawley rats fed a HFD for 10 weeks and found that OMC can mitigate risk factors such hyperglycemia, liver disease, impaired endothelial function, and inflammation. Lastly, I investigated the effects of a 10-week HFD on the gastrointestinal system and found an increase in liver triglycerides and free glycerol and alterations of the distal gut microbiome. My results support the hypothesis that a HFD can promote metabolic risk factors, alter the gut microbiome and increase systemic inflammation and that OMC treatment may help mitigate some of these effects. Together, these studies are among the first to demonstrate the effects of a soil-derived compound on metabolic complications. Additionally, these conclusions also provide an essential basis for future gastrointestinal and microbiome studies of OMC treatment.