Dietary Xylo-oligosaccharide stimulates intestinal bifidobacteria and lactobacilli but has limited effect on intestinal integrity in rats

Ellen Gerd Christensen1, Tine Rask Licht1, Thomas Dyrmann Leser2 and Martin Iain Bahl1

1Division of Food Microbiology, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Mørkhøj Bygade 19, Søborg DK-2860, Denmark; and 2Chr. Hansen A/S, Bøge Allé 10-12, DK-2970 Hørsholm, Denmark.


Consumption of prebiotics may modulate gut microbiota, subsequently affecting the bacterial composition, metabolite profile, and human health. Previous studies indicate that also changes in intestinal integrity may occur. In order to explore this further we have investigated the effect of the putative prebiotic xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) on the gut microbiota and intestinal integrity in male Wistar rats. As changes in intestinal integrity may be related to the expected bifidogenic effect of XOS, we additionally addressed effects of supplementation with a commensal Bifidobacterium pseudolongum (BIF) isolated from the same breed of laboratory rats.

Changes in faecal and caecal bacterial composition determined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantitative PCR for selected bacterial groups revealed that the overall bacterial composition did not differ markedly between the control (CON), XOS, and BIF groups, when correcting for multiple comparisons. However as hypothesised, the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium spp. was increased in XOS-fed rats as compared to CON in faecal samples after the intervention. Also Lactobacillus spp. was increased in both the XOS and BIF groups in caecum content compared to CON. Intestinal permeability determined in vivo by FITC-dextran permeability and in vitro using extracted caecum water in trans-epithelial resistance (TER) assay showed no effect on intestinal
integrity in either the XOS or the BIF groups. However, the expression of occludin, which is part of the tight junction complex, was increased in the XOS group compared to the CON group.

Supplementation with XOS or a commensal Bifidobacterium pseudolongum had very limited effects on intestinal integrity in rats as only significant change in expression of a single tight junction protein gene was found for the XOS group.

BMC Research Notes 2014 7:660

25 APRIL 2024