Article Text

Original research
Akkermansia muciniphila counteracts the deleterious effects of dietary emulsifiers on microbiota and host metabolism
  1. Noëmie Daniel1,
  2. Andrew T Gewirtz2,
  3. Benoit Chassaing1
  1. 1 Team “Mucosal Microbiota in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases”, Institut Cochin, INSERM U1016, CNRS UMR 8104, Université Paris Cité, Paris, France
  2. 2 Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Center for inflammation, Immunity and Infection, Digestive Disease Research Group, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Benoit Chassaing, Team “Mucosal microbiota in chronic inflammatory diseases”, INSERM U1016, CNRS UMR 8104, Université Paris Cité, Paris, France; benoit.chassaing{at}


Background Accumulating evidence indicates that some non-absorbed food additives, including emulsifiers carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and polysorbate 80 (P80), can negatively impact intestinal microbiota, leading to microbiota encroachment, chronic low-grade intestinal inflammation and, subsequently, promotion of metabolic dysregulations. Detrimental impacts of emulsifier consumption on gut microbiota include depletion of the health-associated mucus-fortifying bacteria, Akkermansia muciniphila.

Objective Investigate, in mice, the potential of administration of exogenous A. muciniphila as a means to protect against detrimental impacts of emulsifiers.

Results Daily oral administration of A. muciniphila prevented phenotypic consequences of consumption of both CMC and P80, including hyperphagia, weight gain and dysglycaemia. A. muciniphila administration also counteracted the low-grade intestinal inflammation-induced CMC and P80. Furthermore, A. muciniphila supplementation prevented the proximal impacts of CMC and P80 on gut microbiota that are thought to drive low-grade chronic inflammation and metabolic dysregulations. Specifically, A. muciniphila prevented alterations in species composition and encroachment of gut microbiota that were otherwise induced by CMC and P80. Remarkably, we finally report that CMC and P80 altered the colonic transcriptome, while A. muciniphila largely protected against these alterations.

Conclusion Daily administration of A. muciniphila protects against the detrimental impact of emulsifiers on both the microbiota and host. These results support the notion that use of A. muciniphila as a probiotic can help maintain intestinal and metabolic health amidst the broad array of modern stresses that can promote chronic inflammatory diseases.


Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Unprocessed sequencing data are deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive under accession number PRJEB57855.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Unprocessed sequencing data are deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive under accession number PRJEB57855.

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  • Twitter @NoemieDaniel2, @BenoitChassaing

  • Contributors ND, ATG and BC contributed to the conception and design of the study. ND and BC performed and analysed the experiments. ND and BC performed the statistical analysis. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version. BC is the guarantor of this study.

  • Funding This work was supported by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. ERC-2018-StG- 804135), a Chaire d’Excellence from IdEx Université de Paris - ANR-18-IDEX-0001, an Innovator Award from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, an award from the Fondation de l'avenir (AP-RM-21-032), ANR grants EMULBIONT (ANR-21-CE15-0042-01) and DREAM (ANR-20-PAMR-0002) and the national program 'Microbiote' from INSERM. No funders had any role in the design of the study and data collection, analysis and interpretation, nor in manuscript writing.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

  • The key words are the following: Microbiota, Mucus, Emulsifier, Metabolism, Inflammation, Probiotic, Akkermansia muciniphila, Intestinal transcriptome