Antimicrobial peptides are major effectors of innate immunity of multicellular organisms including humans and play a critical role in host defense, and their importance is widely recognized. The epithelium of the intestine is the largest surface area exposed to the outer environment, including pathogens, toxins and foods. The Paneth cell lineage of intestinal epithelial cells produces and secretes α-defensin antimicrobial peptides and functions in innate enteric immunity by removing pathogens and living symbiotically with commensal microbiota to contribute to intestinal homeostasis. Paneth cells secrete α-defensins, HD5 and HD6 in humans and cryptdins in mice, in response to bacterial, cholinergic and other stimuli. The α-defensins have selective activities against bacteria, eliciting potent microbicidal activities against pathogenic bacteria but minimal or no bactericidal activity against commensal bacteria. Therefore, α-defensins regulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota in vivo and play a role in homeostasis of the entire intestine. Recently, relationships between dysbiosis, or abnormal composition of the intestinal microbiota, and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and lifestyle diseases including obesity and atherosclerosis have been reported. Because α-defensins regulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota, Paneth cells and their α-defensins may have a key role as one mechanism linking the microbiota and disease.
To determine the potential utility of Polygonum hydropiper (tade) as an anti-dementia functional food, the present study assessed the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory and anti-inflammatory activities of tade crude extracts in human cells. Crude extracts of tade were obtained by homogenizing tade in distilled water and then heating the resulting crude extracts. The hot aqueous extracts were purified by centrifugation and freeze-dried. The inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by tade was investigated quantitatively by Ellman’s method. Furthermore, the in vitro effects on human leukocytes (phagocytic activity, phagosome-lysosome fusion, and superoxide anion release) of coating inactive Staphylococcus aureus cells with tade crude extracts were studied. The tade crude extracts inhibited AChE activity. Furthermore, they increased phagocytic activity and phagosome-lysosome fusion in human neutrophils and monocytes in a nominally dose-dependent manner. However, the tade crude extracts did not alter superoxide anion release (O2−) from neutrophils. Our results confirmed that crude extracts of P. hydropiper exhibit antiacetylcholinesterase and immunostimulation activities in vitro. P. hydropiper thus is a candidate functional food for the prevention of dementia.
The use of probiotics has been widely documented to benefit human health, but their clinical value in surgical patients remains unclear. The present study investigated the effect of perioperative oral administration of probiotic bifidobacteria to patients undergoing colorectal surgery. Sixty patients undergoing colorectal resection were randomized to two groups prior to resection. One group (n=31) received a probiotic supplement, Bifidobacterium longum BB536, preoperatively for 7–14 days and postoperatively for 14 days, while the other group (n=29) received no intervention as a control. The occurrences of postoperative infectious complications were recorded. Blood and fecal samples were collected before and after surgery. No significant difference was found in the incidence of postoperative infectious complications and duration of hospital stay between the two groups. In comparison to the control group, the probiotic group tended to have higher postoperative levels of erythrocytes, hemoglobin, lymphocytes, total protein, and albumin and lower levels of high sensitive C-reactive proteins. Postoperatively, the proportions of fecal bacteria changed significantly; Actinobacteria increased in the probiotic group, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria increased in the control group, and Firmicutes decreased in both groups. Significant correlations were found between the proportions of fecal bacteria and blood parameters; Actinobacteria correlated negatively with blood inflammatory parameters, while Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria correlated positively with blood inflammatory parameters. In the subgroup of patients who received preoperative chemoradiotherapy treatment, the duration of hospital stay was significantly shortened upon probiotic intervention. These results suggest that perioperative oral administration of bifidobacteria may contribute to a balanced intestinal microbiota and attenuated postoperative inflammatory responses, which may subsequently promote a healthy recovery after colorectal resection.
Fermented milk supplemented with two probiotic strains (Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM) and a prebiotic (isomaltooligosaccharide) was orally administered to Wistar rats for 30 days using three dosages. A commercial yogurt was used as a placebo. After treatment, the total protein, hemoglobin, and albumin levels in serum were significantly increased in female rats compared with those in the control group (p<0.05), whereas no significant change occurred in the male rats. A significant decrease in serum glucose levels was observed in male rats administered a low dosage of the tested fermented milk (p<0.05). The serum triglyceride level was significantly decreased in both male and female rats (p<0.05). No significant differences were found between rats groups in body weight, food intake, food utilization rate, red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, urea nitrogen, creatinine, and total cholesterol. These results suggest that the fermented milk supplemented with synbiotics altered the nutritive status of the host animal and contributed to their health. However, such potent health-promoting effects could be deeply associated with the dose and sex specific. Therefore, different physiological targets and population characteristics should be managed with different combinations of probiotics and prebiotics.
The composition and diversity of the gut microbiota are known to be different between babies and adults. The aim of this project was to compare the level of bifidobacteria between babies and adults and to investigate the influence of lifestyle factors on the level of this bacterium in the gut. During this study, the levels of bifidobacteria in 10 human babies below 2 years of age were compared with that of 10 human adults above 40 years. The level of bifidobacteria proved to be significantly higher in babies in comparison with adults. This investigation concluded that a combination of several factors, such as age, diet, and BMI, has an important effect on the level of bifidobacteria in adults, while in babies, a combination of diet and age may influence the level of intestinal bifidobacteria.