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Effects of a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs: a randomized, open-labelled, cross-over clinical trial


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Front. Vet. Sci.
Sec.Animal Nutrition and Metabolism
doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.898056

Effects of a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs: a randomized, open-labelled, cross-over clinical trial​

 Jared A. Jaffey1*, Dan Su2, Ross Monasky1, Brenna Hanratty1, Elizabeth Flannery1 and Melissa Horman1
  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, United States
  • 2JustFoodForDogs LLC, United States
Whole foods in humans decrease inflammation and risk for various diseases as well as increases weight loss and immune function. Nutrition has been shown to be an integral component in the management of various diseases in dogs but the immunologic and anti-inflammatory effects of whole food diets have not been explored. Therefore, our objective was to assess the effect of feeding a whole food diet on immune function and inflammatory phenotype in healthy dogs. A prospective, randomized, open-labelled, cross-over clinical trial was performed. Sixteen healthy client-owned dogs were fed either a whole food or an extruded dry diet and, after 67 days were fed the alternate diet for an additional 67 days. Blood samples were obtained at the completion of each treatment arm (i.e. days 67 and 134). Serum c-reactive protein (CRP), haptoglobin (Hp), and serum amyloid-A (SAA) were measured with ELISA assays. Whole blood cultures were performed with exposure to phosphate-buffered solution (PBS), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and lipoteichoic acid (LTA). Canine specific multiplex bead-based assay was then used to measure tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-ɑ, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IL-2, IL-8, and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 concentrations. Granulocyte/monocyte (GM) phagocytosis and oxidative burst associated with Escherichia coli were evaluated via flow cytometry. Dogs fed a whole food diet had significantly lower TNF-α-to-IL-10 ratios (P = 0.05) and a higher production of IL-8 (P = 0.03) with LTA-exposed leukocytes compared to dogs fed an extruded dry diet. There were no between-treatment differences in the remaining leukocyte cytokine responses, serum CRP, Hp, SAA concentrations, or GM phagocytic and oxidative burst capacities. Whole food diets could have immunomodulatory effects in dogs. Future studies in non-healthy dogs are warranted.

Keywords: nutrition, Inflammation, acute phase proteins, canine, Flow cytometry - methods, cytokine
Received: 16 Mar 2022; Accepted: 01 Jul 2022.
Copyright: © 2022 Jaffey, Su, Monasky, Hanratty, Flannery and Horman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
* Correspondence: Mx. Jared A. Jaffey, College of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, United States

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.