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Study Reveals Dietary Fructose Heightens Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

STONY BROOK, NY, September 29, 2020 – Diet remains an important part of disease prevention and management, and a new study suggests that consumption of fructose may worsen intestinal inflammation common to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Led by David Montrose, PhD, of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, the study is currently published early online in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Rates of IBD have been increasing worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately three million Americans are diagnosed with IBD each year, up one million from incidence in the late 1990s. Consumption of a western diet, including fructose, is associated with increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, and IBD may be an additional disease exacerbated by fructose intake.

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David Montrose, PhD

“The increasing incidence of IBD parallels higher levels of fructose consumption in the United States and other countries,” says Montrose, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and faculty researcher in the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. “Our findings provide evidence of a direct link between dietary fructose and IBD and support the concept that high consumption of fructose could worsen disease in people with IBD. This is important because it has the potential to provide guidance on diet choices for IBD patients, something that is currently lacking.”

Montrose, along with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine, tested three mouse models of IBD. They were fed high amounts of fructose, which worsened colonic inflammation along with notable effects in their gut bacteria including changes in their type, metabolism and localization within the colon. Complementary mechanistic work demonstrated that the microbiota is causally linked to the detrimental effects of the high fructose diet.

The paper concludes that the “excess dietary fructose consumption had a pro-colitic effect that can be explained by changes in the composition, distribution and metabolic function of resident enteric microbiota.”

Montrose says several next steps are planned to expand upon these findings. These include the development of interventions to prevent the pro-inflammatory effects of dietary fructose as well as evaluating whether this diet increases colitis-associated tumorigenesis. This second point is particularly important because IBD patients are at increased risk of developing colon cancer due to a lifetime of chronic inflammation of the gut.

About Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University:

Established in 1971, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease; train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians; and deliver world-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world-class medical care through more than 31,000 inpatient, 108,000 emergency room, and 940,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality medical schools on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit www.medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

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