Vitamin E alpha- and gamma-tocopherol mitigate colitis, protect intestinal barrier function and modulate the gut microbiota in mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) including colitis are intestinal disorders characterized by chronic inflammation, barrier dysfunction and dysbiosis. Specific forms of vitamin E have been shown to attenuate colitis, but the mechanisms are not fully understood. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of -tocopherol (T) and -tocopherol-rich tocopherols (TmT) on gut inflammation, barrier integrity and microbiota in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. We observe that T and TmT mitigated DSS-caused fecal bleeding, diarrhea and elevation of IL-6. These vitamin E forms inhibited colitis-induced loss of the tight junction protein occludin, and attenuated colitis-caused elevation of LPS-binding protein in the plasma, a surrogate marker of intestinal barrier dysfunction, suggesting protection of gut barrier integrity. Consistently, T and T mitigated TNF-/IFN--induced impairment of trans-epithelial electrical resistance in human intestinal epithelial Caco-2cell monolayer. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing of fecal DNA, we observe that DSS reduced gut microbial evenness and separated microbial composition from healthy controls. In colitis-induced mice, TmT but not T separated gut microbial composition from controls, and attenuated DSS-caused depletion of Roseburia, which contains butyrate producing bacteria and is decreased in IBD patients. Canonical correspondence analysis also supports that TmT favorably altered gut microbial community. In contrast, neither T nor TmT affected gut microbes in healthy animals. These results provide evidence supporting protective effects of T and T on intestinal barrier function and that TmT caused favorable changes of the gut microbiota in colitis-induced mice.

published proceedings

  • Free Radic Biol Med

altmetric score

  • 2.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, K. Y., Nakatsu, C. H., Jones-Hall, Y., Kozik, A., & Jiang, Q.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Kilia Y||Nakatsu, Cindy H||Jones-Hall, Yava||Kozik, Ariangela||Jiang, Qing

publication date

  • February 2021