Mechanistic Study of Coffee Effects on Gut Microbiota and Motility in Rats

Shrilakshmi Hegde, Daniel W. Shi, John C. Johnson, Ramasatyaveni Geesala, Ke Zhang, You Min Lin, Xuan Zheng Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Consumption of coffee has benefits in postoperative ileus. We tested the hypothesis that the benefits may be related to the effects of coffee on gut microbiota and motility and studied the mechanisms of action in rats. The in vitro and in vivo effects of regular and decaffeinated (decaf) coffee on gut microbiota of the ileum and colon were determined by bacterial culture and quantitative RT-PCR. Ileal and colonic smooth muscle contractility was determined in a muscle bath. In the in vivo studies, coffee solution (1 g/kg) was administered by oral gavage daily for 3 days. Compared to regular LB agar, the growth of microbiota in the colon and ileal contents was significantly suppressed in LB agar containing coffee or decaf (1.5% or 3%). Treatment with coffee or decaf in vivo for 3 days suppressed gut microbiota but did not significantly affect gut motility or smooth muscle contractility. However, coffee or decaf dose-dependently caused ileal and colonic muscle contractions in vitro. A mechanistic study found that compound(s) other than caffeine contracted gut smooth muscle in a muscarinic receptor-dependent manner. In conclusion, coffee stimulates gut smooth muscle contractions via a muscarinic receptor-dependent mechanism and inhibits microbiota in a caffeine-independent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4877
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • coffee
  • colon
  • microbiota
  • motility
  • small intestine
  • smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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