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Diabetes exacerbates inflammatory bowel disease in mice with diet-induced obesity.

BACKGROUND: The increased prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes suggests a causal link between these diseases, potentially involving the effect of hyperglycemia to disrupt intestinal barrier integrity.

AIM: To investigate whether the deleterious impact of diabetes on the intestinal barrier is associated with increased IBD severity in a murine model of colitis in mice with and without diet-induced obesity.

METHODS: Mice were fed chow or a high-fat diet and subsequently received streptozotocin to induce diabetic-range hyperglycemia. Six weeks later, dextran sodium sulfate was given to induce colitis. In select experiments, a subset of diabetic mice was treated with the antidiabetic drug dapagliflozin prior to colitis onset. Endpoints included both clinical and histological measures of colitis activity as well as histochemical markers of colonic epithelial barrier integrity.

RESULTS: In mice given a high-fat diet, but not chow-fed animals, diabetes was associated with significantly increased clinical colitis activity and histopathologic markers of disease severity. Diabetes was also associated with a decrease in key components that regulate colonic epithelial barrier integrity (colonic mucin layer content and epithelial tight junction proteins) in diet-induced obese mice. Each of these effects of diabetes in diet-induced obese mice was ameliorated by restoring normoglycemia.

CONCLUSION: In obese mice, diabetes worsened clinical and pathologic outcomes of colitis via mechanisms that are reversible with treatment of hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia-induced intestinal barrier dysfunction offers a plausible mechanism linking diabetes to increased colitis severity. These findings suggest that effective diabetes management may decrease the clinical severity of IBD.

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