β2→1-fructans modulate the immune system in vivo in a microbiota-dependent and -independent fashion

Floris Fransen*, Neha M. Sahasrabudhe, Marlies Elderman, Margaret Bosveld, Sahar El Aidy, Floor Hugenholtz, Theo Borghuis, Ben Kousemaker, Simon Winkel, Christa van der Gaast-de Jongh, Marien I. de Jonge, Mark V. Boekschoten, Hauke Smidt, Henk A. Schols, Paul de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been shown in vitro that only specific dietary fibers contribute to immunity, but studies in vivo are not conclusive. Here, we investigated degree of polymerization (DP) dependent effects of β2→1-fructans on immunity via microbiota-dependent and -independent effects. To this end, conventional or germ-free mice received short- or long-chain β2→1-fructan for 5 days. Immune cell populations in the spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs), and Peyer's patches (PPs) were analyzed with flow cytometry, genome-wide gene expression in the ileum was measured with microarray, and gut microbiota composition was analyzed with 16S rRNA sequencing of fecal samples. We found that β2→1-fructans modulated immunity by both microbiota and microbiota-independent effects. Moreover, effects were dependent on the chain-length of the β2→1-fructans type polymer. Both short- and long-chain β2→1-fructans enhanced T-helper 1 cells in PPs, whereas only short-chain β2→1-fructans increased regulatory T cells and CD11b-CD103- dendritic cells (DCs) in the MLN. A common feature after short- and long-chain β2→1-fructan treatment was enhanced 2-alpha-l-fucosyltransferase 2 expression and other IL-22-dependent genes in the ileum of conventional mice. These effects were not associated with shifts in gut microbiota composition, or altered production of short-chain fatty acids. Both short- and long-chain β2→1-fructans also induced immune effects in germ-free animals, demonstrating direct effect independent from the gut microbiota. Also, these effects were dependent on the chain-length of the β2→1-fructans. Short-chain β2→1-fructan induced lower CD80 expression by CD11b-CD103- DCs in PPs, whereas long-chain β2→1-fructan specifically modulated B cell responses in germ-free mice. In conclusion, support of immunity is determined by the chemical structure of β2→1-fructans and is partially microbiota independent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number154
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Germ-free mice
  • Gut microbiota
  • Mucosal immunology
  • Prebiotics
  • β2→1-fructans

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