April 11, 2024

Study Finds Short Term High Animal Fat Diet Increases Listeria Risk

According to a new study published in Microbiome, the short term consumption of a high animal fat diet increases a person’s susceptibility to a Listeria monocytogenes infection. The study refers to this type of diet as “westernized.” The study was conducted on mice at the University College Cork.

High Animal Fat Diet May Increase Risk of Listeria Monocytogenes Illness

Researchers found that a high fat and low fermentable fiber diet increases the number of goblet cells, which are a binding site for Listeria bacteria. The diet also “induces profound changes to the microbiota and promotes a pro-inflammatory gene expression profile in the host.”

Apparently, host inflammatory responses, which is the body’s response to an “invader,” are significantly downregulated. The effects were seen beyond the gut, as the diet increased the mice sensitivity to altered gene expression profiles in the liver and systemic infection.

The diet that the mice were fed were either a high fat diet, where 45% of the total caloric intake came from fat, or a low fat diet, where 10% of the total calories intake came from fat. The regular diet included 18% of the total caloric intake from fat. At day 13, the mice were infected with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

The scientists found that the high fat diet “significantly increased” susceptibility to oral Listeria monocytogenes infection. They found increases levels of the pathogen in internal organs and feces at day 3 post-infection.

Diet does influence physiology. Gob let cells are a “preferential site of invasion” by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The scientists suggest that mice fed a high-fat diet may have suppressed immunity, which suggests that dietary fat intake may play an immune-regulatory role.

The authors conclude include by stating “The data presented herein support emerging evidence that diet can significantly influence infectious disease modelsĀ and suggest that diet should be a factor in future evaluation of the infectious dose of the pathogen. The work raises the intriguing possibility that a westernized diet may be a significant factor influencing host resistance to infection.”


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