Gabriela Pinget et al have found that commonly used food additive titanium dioxide (TiO2) may alter gut homeostasis, promoting biofilm formation. Researchers had investigated the effect of food grade TiO2 on the gut microbiota of mice. The study found that titanium dioxide did not change the composition of gut microbiota, but instead it affected bacteria activity by altering the release of bacterial metabolites. The in vitro study revealed that TiO2 affected the spatial distribution of commensal bacteria by promoting undesired biofilm formation. The researchers also found reduced expression of the colonic mucin 2 gene, a key component of the intestinal mucous layer, and increased expression of the beta defensin gene, indicating that TiO2 significantly impacts gut homeostasis. These changes were associated with colonic inflammation, caused by decreased crypt length, infiltration of CD8+ T cells, increased macrophages as well as increased expression of inflammatory cytokines. The findings collectively reveal that TiO2 is not inert, but rather impairs gut homeostasis which may in turn prime the host for disease development.
Source: Frontiers in Nutrition 14 May 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00057