Exclusive Enteral Nutrition Beneficially Modulates Gut Microbiome in a Preclinical Model of Crohn’s-like Colitis

Ramasatyaveni Geesala, Neeraja Recharla, Ke Zhang, John C. Johnson, George Golovko, Kamil Khanipov, Douglas L. Brining, Xuan Zheng Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is an established dietary treatment for Crohn’s disease (CD) by alleviating inflammation and inducing remission. However, the mechanisms of action of EEN are incompletely understood. As CD is associated with gut microbiome dysbiosis, we investigated the effect of EEN on the microbiome in a rat model of CD-like colitis. The rat model of CD-like colitis was established by an intracolonic instillation of TNBS at 65 mg/kg in 250 µL of 40% ethanol. Sham control rats were instilled with saline. Rats were fed ad libitum with either regular pellet food or EEN treatment with a clear liquid diet (Ensure). Rats were euthanized at 7 days. Fecal pellets were collected from the distal colon for 16S rRNA sequencing analysis of gut microbiota. In addition, colon tissues were taken for histological and molecular analyses in all the groups of rats. EEN administration to TNBS-induced CD rats significantly improved the body weight change, inflammation scores, and disease activity index. The mRNA expression of IL-17A and interferon-γ was significantly increased in the colonic tissue in TNBS rats when fed with regular food. However, EEN treatment significantly attenuated the increase in IL-17A and interferon-γ in TNBS rats. Our 16S rRNA sequencing analysis found that gut microbiota diversity and compositions were significantly altered in TNBS rats, compared to controls. However, EEN treatment improved alpha diversity and increased certain beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Dubosiella and decreased bacteria such as Bacteroides and Enterorhabdus in CD-like rats, compared to CD-like rats with the regular pellet diet. In conclusion, EEN treatment increases the diversity of gut microbiota and the composition of certain beneficial bacteria. These effects may contribute to the reduced inflammation by EEN in the rat model of CD-like colitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number363
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn’s disease
  • colitis
  • dysbiosis
  • exclusive enteral nutrition
  • liquid diet
  • microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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