Intestinal Paneth cells modulate innate immunity and infection. In Crohn's disease, genetic mutations together with environmental triggers can disable Paneth cell function. Here, we find that a western diet (WD) similarly leads to Paneth cell dysfunction through mechanisms dependent on the microbiome and farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and type I interferon (IFN) signaling. Analysis of multiple human cohorts suggests that obesity is associated with Paneth cell dysfunction. In mouse models, consumption of a WD for as little as 4 weeks led to Paneth cell dysfunction. WD consumption in conjunction with Clostridium spp. increased the secondary bile acid deoxycholic acid levels in the ileum, which in turn inhibited Paneth cell function. The process required excess signaling of both FXR and IFN within intestinal epithelial cells. Our findings provide a mechanistic link between poor diet and inhibition of gut innate immunity and uncover an effect of FXR activation in gut inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-1001.e6
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 9 2021


  • cell-intrinsic
  • high fat diet
  • metabolism
  • microbiota
  • myeloid cells
  • obesity
  • organoids
  • transcriptomics


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