Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease related to intestinal dysbiosis. Luteolin has been reported to reduce inflammation. However, it remains unclear whether luteolin ameliorates UC and regulates gut microbiota. In this study, we investigated the effects of luteolin on colonic structure and inflammation of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced rats using hematoxylin-eosin staining, immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and evaluated the effect of luteolin on gut microbiota using 16S rDNA sequencing. We found that luteolin treatment significantly reduced colonic damage, and inhibited colonic inflammation in UC rats, evidenced by the decreased levels of NF-κB, IL-17 and IL-23 in UC rats and the increased level of PPAR-γ. In addition, the 16S rDNA sequencing analysis revealed that luteolin treatment could alter diversity and composition of gut microbiota in UC rats. Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, Roseburia and Butyricicoccus were dominant genera in the luteolin group. Luteolin treatment reduced DSS-induced increased ratio of Lactobacillus and Prevotella_9. Furthermore, KEGG analysis revealed that gut microbiota were mainly related to DNA repair and recombination proteins, ribosome, purine metabolism, peptidases, and pyrimidine metabolism. In conclusion, our results revealed that luteolin could alleviate DSS-induced colitis in rats, and gut microbiota had the potential to serve as promising biomarkers for uncovering the mechanism by which luteolin improved UC.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.