B-vitamin deficiency is protective against DSS-induced colitis in mice

Nancy M. Benight, Barbara Stoll, Shaji Chacko, Vanessa R. da Silva, Juan C. Marini, Jesse F. Gregory, Sally P. Stabler, Douglas G. Burrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


B-vitamin deficiency is protective against DSS-induced colitis in mice. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 301: G249-G259, 2011. First published May 19, 2011; doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00076.2011.-Vitamin deficiencies are common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Homocysteine (Hcys) is a thrombogenic amino acid produced from methionine (Met), and its increase in patients with IBD indicates a disruption of Met metabolism; however, the role of Hcys and Met metabolism in IBD is not well understood. We hypothesized that disrupted Met metabolism from a B-vitamin-deficient diet would exacerbate experimental colitis. Mice were fed a B6-B12-deficient or control diet for 2 wk and then treated with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce colitis. We monitored disease activity during DSS treatment and collected plasma and tissue for analysis of inflammatory tissue injury and Met metabolites. We also quantified Met cycle activity by measurements of in vivo Met kinetics using [1-13C-methyl-2H3]methionine infusion in similarly treated mice. Unexpectedly, we found that mice given the B-vitamin-deficient diet had improved clinical outcomes, including increased survival, weight maintenance, and reduced disease scores. We also found lower histological disease activity and proinflammatory gene expression (TNF-α and inducible nitric oxide synthase) in the colon in deficient-diet mice. Metabolomic analysis showed evidence that these effects were associated with deficient B6, as markers of B12 function were only mildly altered. In vivo methionine kinetics corroborated these results, showing that the deficient diet suppressed transsulfuration but increased remethylation. Our findings suggest that disrupted Met metabolism attributable to B6 deficiency reduces the inflammatory response and disease activity in DSS-challenged mice. These results warrant further human clinical studies to determine whether B6 deficiency and elevated Hcys in patients with IBD contribute to disease pathobiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G249-G259
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Methionine
  • Methylation
  • Pyridoxal phosphate
  • Transsulfuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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