A high fat/high sugar diet alters the gastrointestinal metabolome in a sex dependentmanner

Ayland C. Letsinger, Rani Menon, Anjushree R. Iyer, Heather L. Vellers, Jorge Z. Granados, Arul Jayaraman, J. Timothy Lightfoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The gut metabolome offers insight for identifying the source of diet related pathology. As such, the purpose of this study was to characterize alterations of the gut metabolome in female and male C57BL/6J mice randomly assigned to a standard “chow” diet (CHOW) or a high fat/high sugar diet (HFHS; 45% fat and 20% fructose drinking solution) for nine weeks. Cecal metabolites were extracted and an untargeted analysis via LC-MS/MS was performed. Partial Least Sums Discriminate Analysis (PLS-DA) presented significant differences between the two diet groups in a sex-dependent manner. Mann–Whitney U-tests revealed 2443 and 1669 features to be significantly different between diet groups in the females and males, respectively. The majority of altered metabolites were depleted within the cecum of the HFHS fed mice. Metabolic pathways associated with galactose metabolism, leukotriene metabolism, and androgen and estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism were differentially altered with an HFHS diet between sexes. We concluded the immense metabolite depletion and elevation of adverse metabolites associated with the HFHS diet is suggestive of poor gut health. Further, the differential alterations between female and male mice suggests that sex plays an important role in determining the effect of diet on the metabolome and host health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number421
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Androgen
  • Cecum
  • Estrogen
  • Fructose
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Obesity
  • Western diet


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