Effects of Medium- and Long-Chain Triacylglycerols on Lipid Metabolism and Gut Microbiota Composition in C57BL/6J Mice

Obesity is related to an increasing risk of chronic diseases. Medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) have been recognized as a promising choice to reduce body weight. In this study, three MLCT with different contents of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) (10–30%, w/w) were prepared, and their effects on lipid metabolism and fecal gut microbiota composition of C57BL/6J mice were systematically investigated. MLCT with 30% (w/w) MCFA showed the best performance in decreasing body weight gain as well as optimizing serum lipid parameters and liver triacylglycerol content. The expression levels of genes encoding enzymes for fatty acid degradation increased markedly and expression levels of genes encoding enzymes for de novo fatty acid biosynthesis decreased significantly in the liver of mice treated with MLCT containing 30% (w/w) MCFA. Interestingly, the dietary intake of a high fat diet containing MLCT did significantly decrease the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes and down-regulate the relative abundance of Proteobacteria that may attribute to weight loss. Furthermore, we found a notable increase in the total short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) content in feces of mice on a MLCT containing diet. All these results may be concomitantly responsible for the antiobesity effect of MLCT with relatively high contents of MCFA.