• Compared to casein, bovine lactoferrin reduces plasma leptin and corticosterone and affects hypothalamic gene expression without altering weight gain or fat mass in high fat diet fed C57/BL6J mice

      McManus, Bettina; Korpela, Riitta; O'Connor, Paula M.; Schellekens, Harriet; Cryan, John F.; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka (Biomed Central, 08/12/2015)
      Background Several studies in both humans and rodents have examined the use of lactoferrin as a dietary solution to weight gain and visceral fat accretion and have shown promising results in the short term (up to 7 weeks). This study examined the effects of giving lactoferrin over a longer period of time. Methods For 13 weeks, male C57/BL6J mice were given a diet containing 10 % kJ fat and 20 % kJ casein (LFD) or a diet with 45 % kJ fat and either 20 % kJ casein (HFD) or 20 % kJ lactoferrin (HFD + Lac). Physiological, metabolic, and biochemical parameters were investigated. Gene expression was investigated by Real-Time PCR and microarray. All data was assessed using t-test, ANOVA or ANCOVA. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis was used to interpret microarray data and assess the impact on gene sets with common biological roles. Results By the end of the trial, HFD + Lac fed mice did not alter energy balance, body composition, bodyweight, or weight gain when compared to the HFD group. Notably, there were no changes in subcutaneous or epididymal adipose leptin mRNA levels between high fat diet groups, however plasma leptin was significantly reduced in the HFD + Lac compared to HFD group (P < 0.05) suggesting reduced leptin secretion. Global microarray analysis of the hypothalamus indicate an overall reduction in gene sets associated with feeding behaviour (P < 0.01) and an up-regulation of gene sets associated with retinol metabolism in the HFD + Lac group compared to the HFD group (P < 0.01). Genes in the latter catergory have been shown to impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Notably, plasma corticosterone levels in the HFD + Lac group were reduced compared to the HFD fed mice (P < 0.05). Conclusions The data suggests that prolonged feeding of full-length dietary lactoferrin, as part of a high fat diet, does not have a beneficial impact on weight gain when compared to casein. However, its impact on leptin secretion and accompanying changes in hypothalamic gene expression may underlie how this dietary protein alters plasma corticosterone. The lactoferrin fed mouse model could be used to identify leptin and corticosterone regulated genes in the hypothalamus without the confounding effects of body weight change.
    • Dietary alpha-lactalbumin alters energy balance, gut microbiota composition and intestinal nutrient transporter expression in high-fat diet fed mice

      Boscaini, Serena; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; Cotter, Paul D.; Cryan, John F.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; BBSRC; Teagasc; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2019-03-05)
      Recently there has been a considerable rise in the frequency of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, due to changes in lifestyle and resultant imbalances between energy intake and expenditure. Whey proteins are considered as potentially important components of a dietary solution to the obesity problem. However, the roles of individual whey proteins in energy balance remain poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of a high fat diet (HFD) containing alphalactalbumin (LAB), a specific whey protein, or the non-whey protein casein (CAS), on energy balance, nutrient transporters expression, and enteric microbial populations. C57BL/6J mice (n = 8) were given a HFD containing either 20% CAS or LAB as protein sources or a low-fat diet (LFD) containing CAS for 10 weeks. HFD-LAB fed mice showed a significant increase in cumulative energy intake (P=0.043), without differences in body weight, energy expenditure, locomotor activity, respiratory exchange ratio or subcutaneous and epididymal adipose tissue weight. HFD-LAB intake led to a decrease in the expression of glucose transporter glut2 in the ileum (P=0.05)and in the fatty acid transporter cd36 (P<0.001) in both ileum and jejunum. This suggests a reduction of absorption efficiency within the small intestine in the HFD-LAB group. DNA from faecal samples was used for 16S rRNA-based assessment of intestinal microbiota populations; the genera Lactobacillus, Parabacteroides and Bifidobacterium were present in significantly higher proportions in the HFD-LAB group. These data indicate a possible functional relationship between gut microbiota, intestinal nutrient transporters and energy balance, with no impact on weight gain.
    • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

      Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; Rea, Mary; et al. (Frontiers, 15/06/2018)
      There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
    • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

      Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Brodkorb, Andre; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-06-15)
      There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
    • Protein Quality and the Protein to Carbohydrate Ratio within a High Fat Diet Influences Energy Balance and the Gut Microbiota In C57BL/6J Mice

      McAllan, Liam; Skuse, Peter; Cotter, Paul D.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cryan, John F.; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Roche, Helen M.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; Teagasc Vision Programme on Obesity; et al. (PLOS, 10/02/2014)
      Macronutrient quality and composition are important determinants of energy balance and the gut microbiota. Here, we investigated how changes to protein quality (casein versus whey protein isolate; WPI) and the protein to carbohydrate (P/C) ratio within a high fat diet (HFD) impacts on these parameters. Mice were fed a low fat diet (10% kJ) or a high fat diet (HFD; 45% kJ) for 21 weeks with either casein (20% kJ, HFD) or WPI at 20%, 30% or 40% kJ. In comparison to casein, WPI at a similar energy content normalised energy intake, increased lean mass and caused a trend towards a reduction in fat mass (P = 0.08), but the protein challenge did not alter oxygen consumption or locomotor activity. WPI reduced HFD-induced plasma leptin and liver triacylglycerol, and partially attenuated the reduction in adipose FASN mRNA in HFD-fed mice. High throughput sequence-based analysis of faecal microbial populations revealed microbiota in the HFD-20% WPI group clustering closely with HFD controls, although WPI specifically increased Lactobacillaceae/Lactobacillus and decreased Clostridiaceae/Clostridium in HFD-fed mice. There was no effect of increasing the P/C ratio on energy intake, but the highest ratio reduced HFD-induced weight gain, fat mass and plasma triacylglycerol, non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and leptin levels, while it increased lean mass and oxygen consumption. Similar effects were observed on adipose mRNA expression, where the highest ratio reduced HFD-associated expression of UCP-2, TNFa and CD68 and increased the diet-associated expression of b3-AR, LPL, IR, IRS-1 and GLUT4. The P/C ratio also impacted on gut microbiota, with populations in the 30/ 40% WPI groups clustering together and away from the 20% WPI group. Taken together, our data show that increasing the P/C ratio has a dramatic effect on energy balance and the composition of gut microbiota, which is distinct from that caused by changes to protein quality.
    • Regulation of intestinal growth in response to variations in energy supply and demand

      Nilaweera, Kanishka; Speakman, John R.; Science Foundation Ireland; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); SFI/16/BBSRC/3389; BB/P009875/1 (Wiley, 2018-12-03)
      The growth of the intestine requires energy, which is known to be met by catabolism of ingested nutrients. Paradoxically, during whole body energy deficit including calorie restriction, the intestine grows in size. To understand how and why this happens, we reviewed data from several animal models of energetic challenge. These were bariatric surgery, cold exposure, lactation, dietary whey protein intake and calorie restriction. Notably, these challenges all reduced the adipose tissue mass, altered hypothalamic neuropeptide expression and increased intestinal size. Based on these data, we propose that the loss of energy in the adipose tissue promotes the growth of the intestine via a signalling mechanism involving the hypothalamus. We discuss possible candidates in this pathway including data showing a correlative change in intestinal (ileal) expression of the cyclin D1 gene with adipose tissue mass, adipose derived‐hormone leptin and hypothalamic expression of leptin receptor and the pro‐opiomelanocortin gene. The ability of the intestine to grow in size during depletion of energy stores provides a mechanism to maximize assimilation of ingested energy and in turn sustain critical functions of tissues important for survival.
    • Whey protein effects on energy balance link the intestinal mechanisms of energy absorption with adiposity and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression

      Nilaweera, Kanishka; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; O'Connor, Paula M.; McAuliffe, Ann Marie; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Lawton, Elaine M.; Crispie, Fiona; Aguillera, Monica; Stanley, Maurice; et al. (American Physiological Society, 21/03/2017)
      We tested the hypothesis that dietary whey protein isolate (WPI) affects the intestinal mechanisms related to energy absorption and that the resulting energy deficit is compensated by changes in energy balance to support growth. C57BL/6 mice were provided a diet enriched with WPI with varied sucrose content, and the impact on energy balance-related parameters was investigated. As part of a high-sucrose diet, WPI reduced the hypothalamic expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene expression and increased energy intake. The energy expenditure was unaffected, but epididymal weight was reduced, indicating an energy loss. Notably, there was a reduction in the ileum gene expression for amino acid transporter SLC6a19, glucose transporter 2, and fatty acid transporter 4. The composition of the gut microbiota also changed, where Firmicutes were reduced. The above changes indicated reduced energy absorption through the intestine. We propose that this mobilized energy in the adipose tissue and caused hypothalamic changes that increased energy intake, acting to counteract the energy deficit arising in the intestine. Lowering the sucrose content in the WPI diet increased energy expenditure. This further reduced epididymal weight and plasma leptin, whereupon hypothalamic ghrelin gene expression and the intestinal weight were both increased. These data suggest that when the intestine-adipose-hypothalamic pathway is subjected to an additional energy loss (now in the adipose tissue), compensatory changes attempt to assimilate more energy. Notably, WPI and sucrose content interact to enable the component mechanisms of this pathway.
    • Whey protein effects on energy balance link the intestinal mechanisms of energy absorption with adiposity and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression

      Nilaweera, Kanishka; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; O'Connor, Paula M.; McAuliffe, Ann Marie; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Lawton, Elaine M.; Crispie, Fiona; Aguillera, Monica; Stanley, Maurice; et al. (American Physiological Society, 19/06/2017)
      We tested the hypothesis that dietary whey protein isolate (WPI) affects the intestinal mechanisms related to energy absorption and that the resulting energy deficit is compensated by changes in energy balance to support growth. C57BL/6 mice were provided a diet enriched with WPI with varied sucrose content, and the impact on energy balance-related parameters was investigated. As part of a high-sucrose diet, WPI reduced the hypothalamic expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene expression and increased energy intake. The energy expenditure was unaffected, but epididymal weight was reduced, indicating an energy loss. Notably, there was a reduction in the ileum gene expression for amino acid transporter SLC6a19, glucose transporter 2, and fatty acid transporter 4. The composition of the gut microbiota also changed, where Firmicutes were reduced. The above changes indicated reduced energy absorption through the intestine. We propose that this mobilized energy in the adipose tissue and caused hypothalamic changes that increased energy intake, acting to counteract the energy deficit arising in the intestine. Lowering the sucrose content in the WPI diet increased energy expenditure. This further reduced epididymal weight and plasma leptin, whereupon hypothalamic ghrelin gene expression and the intestinal weight were both increased. These data suggest that when the intestine-adipose-hypothalamic pathway is subjected to an additional energy loss (now in the adipose tissue), compensatory changes attempt to assimilate more energy. Notably, WPI and sucrose content interact to enable the component mechanisms of this pathway.
    • Whey protein isolate decreases murine stomach weight and intestinal length and alters the expression of Wnt signalling-associated genes

      McAllan, Liam; Speakman, John R.; Cryan, John F.; Nilaweera, Kanishka (Cambridge University Press, 13/01/2015)
      The present study examined the underlying mechanisms by which whey protein isolate (WPI) affects energy balance. C57BL/6J mice were fed a diet containing 10 % energy from fat, 70 % energy from carbohydrate (35 % energy from sucrose) and 20 % energy from casein or WPI for 15 weeks. Mice fed with WPI had reduced weight gain, cumulative energy intake and dark-phase VO2 compared with casein-fed mice (P< 0·05); however, WPI intake had no significant effects on body composition, meal size/number, water intake or RER. Plasma levels of insulin, TAG, leptin, glucose and glucagon-like peptide 1 remained unchanged. Notably, the intake of WPI reduced stomach weight and both length and weight of the small intestine (P< 0·05). WPI intake reduced the gastric expression of Wingless/int-1 5a (Wnt5a) (P< 0·01) and frizzled 4 (Fzd4) (P< 0·01), with no change in the expression of receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2) and LDL receptor-related protein 5 (Lrp5). In the ileum, WPI increased the mRNA expression of Wnt5a (P< 0·01) and caused a trend towards an increase in the expression of Fzd4 (P= 0·094), with no change in the expression of Ror2 and Lrp5. These genes were unresponsive in the duodenum. Among the nutrient-responsive genes, WPI specifically reduced ileal mRNA expression of peptide YY (P< 0·01) and fatty acid transporter protein 4 (P< 0·05), and decreased duodenal mRNA expression of the insulin receptor (P= 0·05), with a trend towards a decreased expression of Na–glucose co-transporter 1 (P= 0·07). The effects of WPI on gastrointestinal Wnt signalling may explain how this protein affects gastrointestinal structure and function and, in turn, energy intake and balance.