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Naringenin confers protection against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis through modulating the gut-brain axis: A multi-omics analysis

Liu, Z;Sun, M;Jin, C;Sun, X;Feng, F;Niu, X;Wang, B;Zhang, Y;Wang, J;

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that involves the immune system attacking the protective covering of nerve fibers. This disease can be influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Evidence has highlighted the critical role of the intestinal microbiota in MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The composition of gut microflora is mainly determined by dietary components, which, in turn, modulate host homeostasis. A diet rich in naringenin at 0.5% can effectively mitigate the severity of EAE in mice. However, there is little direct data on the impact of naringenin at optimal doses on EAE development, as well as its intestinal microbiota and metabolites. Our study revealed that 2.0% naringenin resulted in the lowest clinical score and pathological changes in EAE mice, and altered the gene expression profiles associated with inflammation and immunity in spinal cord tissue. We then used untargeted metabolomics and 16S rRNA gene sequence to identify metabolites and intestinal microbiota, respectively. Naringenin supplementation enriched gut microbiota in EAE mice, including increasing the abundance of Paraprevotellaceae and Comamonadaceae, while decreasing the abundance of Deltaproteobacteria, RF39, and Desulfovibrionaceae. Furthermore, the changes in gut microbiota affected the production of metabolites in the feces and brain, suggesting a role in regulating the gut-brain axis. Finally, we conducted a fecal transplantation experiment to validate that gut microbiota partly mediates the effect of naringenin on EAE alleviation. In conclusion, naringenin has potential immunomodulatory effects that are influenced to some extent by the gut microbiome.