Effects of gliadin consumption on the intestinal microbiota and metabolic homeostasis in mice fed a high-fat diet

Li Zhang, Daniel Andersen, Henrik Munch Roager, Martin Iain Bahl, Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen, Niels Banhos Danneskiold-Samsøe, Karsten Kristiansen, Ilinca Daria Radulescu, Christian Sina, Henrik Lauritz Frandsen, Axel Kornerup Hansen, Susanne Brix, Lars I. Hellgren, Tine Rask Licht*

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


Dietary gluten causes severe disorders like celiac disease in gluten-intolerant humans. However, currently understanding of its impact in tolerant individuals is limited. Our objective was to test whether gliadin, one of the detrimental parts of gluten, would impact the metabolic effects of an obesogenic diet. Mice were fed either a defined high-fat diet (HFD) containing 4% gliadin (n = 20), or a gliadin-free, isocaloric HFD (n = 20) for 23 weeks. Combined analysis of several parameters including insulin resistance, histology of liver and adipose tissue, intestinal microbiota in three gut compartments, gut barrier function, gene expression, urinary metabolites and immune profiles in intestinal, lymphoid, liver and adipose tissues was performed. Mice fed the gliadin-containing HFD displayed higher glycated hemoglobin and higher insulin resistance as evaluated by the homeostasis model assessment, more hepatic lipid accumulation and smaller adipocytes than mice fed the gliadin-free HFD. This was accompanied by alterations in the composition and activity of the gut microbiota, gut barrier function, urine metabolome, and immune phenotypes within liver and adipose tissue. Our results reveal that gliadin disturbs the intestinal environment and affects metabolic homeostasis in obese mice, suggesting a detrimental effect of gluten intake in gluten-tolerant subjects consuming a high-fat diet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44613
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 16.03.2017


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