Amelioration of Clostridium difficile Infection in Mice by Dietary Supplementation With Indole-3-carbinol

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To determine the therapeutic effects of dietary supplementation on Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).


With limited treatment options, the rise of C. difficile-associated disease has spurred on the search for novel therapies. Recent data define a role for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and diet-derived AHR ligands in mucosal immunity. We investigated the efficacy of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a dietary supplement, and AHR precursor ligand in a murine model of CDI.


C57BL/6 (B6), AHR-/-, and AHR+/- mice were placed on either grain-based or semipurified diets with or without I3C before and during CDI. Mice were followed clinically for a minimum of 6 days or euthanized between days 0 and 4 of inoculation for analysis of the inflammatory response and microbiota.


B6 mice fed an AHR ligand-deficient, semipurified diet have significantly increased disease severity (P<0.001) and mortality (P < 0.001) compared with mice fed on diet containing I3C. The addition of I3C to the diet of AHR null mice had less of an impact than in AHR heterozygous littermates, although some protection was seen. Mice on semipurified I3C-diet had increased cecal Tregs, ILC3s, and γδ T cells and an increased neutrophilic response without increased inflammation or bacterial translocation compared with controls.


I3C is a powerful treatment to reduce impact of CDI in mice. The findings indicate I3C may be acting through both AHR-dependent and -independent mechanisms in this model. Dietary supplementation with I3C is a potential new therapy for prevention and amelioration of C. difficile disease.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles