Intestinal steroid profiles and microbiota composition in colitic mice

Steffen Wohlgemuth, Sylvia Keller, Romy Kertscher, Mandy Stadion, Dirk Haller, Sigrid Kisling, Gerhard Jahreis, Michael Blaut, Gunnar Loh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Reduced gut microbiota diversity in conjunction with a bloom of a few bacterial species is a common feature in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. However, the environmental changes caused by inflammation and their possible impact on the microbiota are largely unknown. Since IBD is associated with an impaired intestinal steroid metabolism, we hypothesized that changes in intestinal steroid and particularly bile acid (BA) concentrations affect microbial communities. We used Interleukin-10 deficient (IL-10 -/-) mice as a model for chronic gut inflammation. Healthy wild-type mice served as controls. In these animals, intestinal steroid concentrations and gut microbial diversity were analyzed at 24 weeks of age. The IL-10 -/- mice developed moderate inflammation in cecum and colon and colorectal tumor formation was observed in 55% of the animals. Compared to the healthy conditions, gut inflammation was associated with higher intestinal cholesterol and cholic acid concentrations and a reduced microbial diversity. The latter was accompanied by a proliferation of Robinsoniella peoriensis, Clostridium innocuum, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus gallinarum. All these species proved to be highly bile acid resistant. We concluded that chronic colitis in IL-10 -/- mice is associated with changes in intestinal steroid profiles. These changes may be due to alterations in gut microbiota composition or vice versa. Whether the bacterial sterol and bile acid metabolism is implicated in colitis and colorectal carcinoma etiology remains to be clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Bile acids
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Coprostanol
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal microbiota
  • Neutral sterols


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