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Gastrointestinal disease


Free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2; GPR43)

Mouse studies suggest short-chain fatty acid supplementation could be useful for treating colitis and other inflammation-associated colon diseases. Colonic Treg cells have previously been shown to control intestinal inflammation by limiting effector T cell proliferation. In germ-free mice, short-chain fatty acid supplementation increased the number of colonic Treg cells compared with no supplementation. In a T cell transfer mouse model for colitis, supplementation with the FFAR2 agonist propionate or a mixture of short-chain fatty acids decreased disease severity and weight loss compared with no supplementation. Next steps could include screening for and evaluating specific FFAR2 agonists in mouse colitis models.

SciBX 6(30); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.794
Published online Aug. 8, 2013

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Smith, P.M. et al. Science;
published online July 4, 2013;
Contact: Wendy S. Garrett, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.