A new study being published by the American Physiological Society finds that the body responds differently to colitis (inflammation of the colon) based on whether the disease is acute (sharp and brief) or chronic (long-term). Researchers, using an experimental mouse model of colitis, discovered that the effects of acute colitis were associated with decreased body weight, food intake, and body fat content. Chronic colitis was associated with reduced body fat content, decreased bone mineral density and attenuated use of energy, termed energy expenditure. The discovery may help lead to better symptom management for the 500,000 Americans who live with the disease.
The study, "Mice With Experimental Colitis Show an Altered Metabolism With Decreased Metabolic Rate, " was conducted by Silvia Melgar and Erik Michaëlsson, Integrative Pharmacology, GI Biology, AstraZeneca; Lennart Svensson, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, AstraZeneca; Anna-Karin Gerdin and Mohammad Bohlooly-Y, AstraZeneca Transgenics and Comparative Genomics Centre, AstraZeneca, Molndal, Sweden; and Mikael Bjursell, Department of Physiology/Endocrinology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, Goteborg University, Sweden and AstraZeneca Transgenics and Comparative Genomics Centre, AstraZeneca, Molndal, Sweden. Their study appears in the Articles in Press Section of the American Journal of Physiology, Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. The journal is one of 11 peer reviewed scientific publications issued each month by the American Physiological Society (APS).
Using dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), the researchers chemically induced the symptoms of colitis into three groups of mice. The first group (n=14) was given DSS for seven days, thus inducing acute inflammation. The second group (n=16) received DSS for five days followed by three weeks of water in order to induce chronic inflammation. The third group (controls) (n=13) received only water. After being fed DSS, some portion of each group was treated with an anti-inflammatory substance (acute group: n=6; chronic group: n=4; control: n=6) to investigate the potential effect(s) on bone metabolism.
The mice were examined using a series of tests, including body composition review, indirect calorimetry and sampling of tissue, plasma and feces for analysis. Values were considered statistically significant at p<0.05.
Highlights of the researchers' findings include:
This study shows that mice with acute colitis (colon inflammation) had decreased body weights, lower fat and lean mass, reduced intakes of food and water, and a tendency towards lower levels of activity and energy expenditure. By contrast, mice with chronic inflammation recovered from their bout, and had food intake, body weight and lean mass comparable to the controls, but their energy expenditure, activity and body fat content were still significantly reduced. To cope with the chronic inflammatory condition, the researchers observed that the mice undergo profound metabolic changes. Further research is necessary to better understand why and how.
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