COLLEGE STATION Texas A&M University and University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists have completed a study on the effect of diet complexity and estrogen hormone receptors on intestinal microbiota.
To date, research has shown that promoting the growth of certain beneficial intestinal microorganisms can help to improve overall health. The study was to determine the effect of certain factors on intestinal microbiota.
"In this study, we wanted to determine if steroid hormone nuclear receptors, specifically estrogen receptor beta, affect the composition of intestinal bacteria," said Dr. Joseph Sturino, lead researcher in the nutrition and food science department at Texas A&M's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College Station.
"Some steroid hormones, like estradiol, and dietary phytoestrogens are known to influence the development of chronic gastrointestinal inflammation and estrogen-responsive cancers of the breast, prostate and colon," Sturino said.
Some of these effects are the result of differential and tissue-specific gene regulation by estrogen receptor beta, Sturino said. That aspect of the study was the focus of the lab work performed by Dr. Clinton Allred, also in the college's nutrition and food science department and a collaborator on the published study.
They hypothesized that some estrogenic regulatory signals are mediated, in part, by the activity of microorganisms present in the gut and that diet modification can be used to change those.
In order to investigate the effects of both receptors and diet on intestinal microorganisms, the scientists initially raised female mice on a fiber-rich diet containing plant-derived estrogenic compounds called isoflavones, comprising a complex diet. The animals were then fed an isoflavone-free diet that was rich in highly refined sugars for two weeks, comprising a simple diet. The composition of the fecal bacteria was surveyed over t
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Texas A&M AgriLife Communications