2018 Volume 64 Issue 5 Pages 357-366
The effects of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) on gut-barrier function are still controversial in human and animal studies. Diet conditions would be a major factor for the controversy in animal studies. We fed rats a semi-purified (SP) or a non-purified diet (NP) with or without FOS (60 g/kg diet) for 9 (experiment 1) or 10 d (experiment 2). We assessed microbial fermentation, gut permeability, and inflammatory responses in the cecum (experiment 1), and mucus layer in the cecum, intestinal transit time and microbiota composition (experiment 2). FOS supplementation induced a very acidic fermentation due to the accumulation of lactate and succinate in SP, while short-chain fatty acids were major products in NP. Gut permeability estimated by urinary chromium-EDTA excretion, bacterial translocation into mesenteric lymph nodes, myeloperoxidase activity, and expressions of the inflammatory cytokine genes in the cecal mucosa were greater in SP+FOS than in SP, but these alterations were not observed between NP and NP+FOS (experiment 1). FOS supplementation destroyed the mucus layer on the epithelial surface in SP, but not in NP. Intestinal transit time was 3-fold longer in SP+FOS than in SP, but this was not the case between NP and NP+FOS. Lower species richness of cecal microbiota was manifest solely in SP+FOS (experiment 2). These factors suggest that impact of FOS on gut permeability and inflammatory responses in the cecal mucosa quite differs between SP and NP. Increased gut permeability in SP+FOS could be evoked by the disruption of the mucus layer due to stasis of the very acidic luminal contents.