Sepsis is known to cause damage to the intestinal mucosa, leading to bacterial translocation, and exacerbation of both local and remote organ impairments. In the present study, fecal samples were collected from both septic and healthy individuals. Analysis through 16s rRNA sequencing of the fecal microbiota revealed that sepsis disrupts the balance of the gut microbial community. Recent research has highlighted the association of lipid metabolism with disease. By analyzing the fecal metabolome, four lipid metabolites that showed significant differences between the two groups were identified: PE (O-16:0/0:0), PE (17:0/0:0), PE (0:0/14:0), and PE (12:0/20:5 (5Z, 8Z, 11Z, 14Z, 17Z)). Notably, the serum levels of PE (0:0/14:0) were higher in the healthy group. Subsequent in vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrated the protective effects of this compound against sepsis-induced intestinal barrier damage. Label-free proteomic analysis showed significant differences in the expression levels of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), a protein implicated in sepsis pathogenesis, between the LPS-Caco-2 and LPS-Caco-2 + PE (0:0/14:0) groups. Further analysis, with the help of Discovery Studio 3.5 software and co-immunoprecipitation assays, confirmed the direct interaction between AHR and PE (0:0/14:0). In the cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) model, treatment with PE (0:0 /14:0) was found to up-regulate the expression of tight junction proteins through the AHR/Cytochrome P450, family 1, subfamily A, and polypeptide 1 (CYP1A1) pathway. This highlights the potential therapeutic use of PE (0:0/14:0) in addressing sepsis-induced intestinal barrier damage.

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