Metabolomics activity screening of T cell–induced colitis reveals anti-inflammatory metabolites

J. Rafael Montenegro-Burke, Bernard P. Kok, Carlos Guijas, Xavier Domingo-Almenara, Clara Moon, Andrea Galmozzi, Seiya Kitamura, Lars Eckmann, Enrique Saez, Gary E. Siuzdak, Dennis W. Wolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Untargeted metabolomics of disease-associated intestinal microbiota can detect quantitative changes in metabolite profiles and complement other methodologies to reveal the full effect of intestinal dysbiosis. Here, we used the T cell transfer mouse model of colitis to identify small-molecule metabolites with altered abundance due to intestinal inflammation. We applied untargeted metabolomics to detect metabolite signatures in cecal, colonic, and fecal samples from healthy and colitic mice and to uncover differences that would aid in the identification of colitis-associated metabolic processes. We provided an unbiased spatial survey of the GI tract for small molecules, and we identified the likely source of metabolites and biotransformations. Several prioritized metabolites that we detected as being altered in colitis were evaluated for their ability to induce inflammatory signaling in cultured macrophages, such as NF-КB signaling and the expression of cytokines and chemokines upon LPS stimulation. Multiple previously uncharacterized anti-inflammatory and inflammation-augmenting metabolites were thus identified, with phytosphingosine showing the most effective anti-inflammatory activity in vitro. We further demonstrated that oral administration of phytosphingosine decreased inflammation in a mouse model of colitis induced by the compound TNBS. The collection of distinct metabolites we identified and characterized, many of which have not been previously associated with colitis, may offer new biological insight into IBD-associated inflammation and disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabf6584
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number702
StatePublished - Sep 28 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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