Dietary fructo-oligosaccharides affect intestinal barrier function in healthy men

S.J.M. ten Bruggencate, I.M.J. Bovee-Oudenhoven, M.L.G. Lettink-Wissink, M.B. Katan, R. van der Meer

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101 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to most expectations, we showed previously that dietary fructooligosaccharides (FOS) stimulate intestinal colonization and translocation of invasive Salmonella enteritidis in rats. Even before infection, FOS increased the cytotoxicity of fecal water, mucin excretion, and intestinal permeability. In the present study, we tested whether FOS has these effects in humans. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of 2 x 2 wk, with a washout period of 2 wk, was performed with 34 healthy men. Each day, subjects consumed lemonade containing either 20 g FOS or placebo and the intestinal permeability marker chromium EDTA (CrEDTA). On the last 2 d of each supplement period, subjects scored their gastrointestinal complaints on a visual analog scale and collected feces and urine for 24 h. Fecal lactic acid was measured using a colorimetric enzymatic kit. The cytotoxicity of fecal water was determined with an in vitro bioassay, fecal mucins were quantified fluorimetrically, and intestinal permeability was determined by measuring urinary CrEDTA excretion. In agreement with our animal studies, FOS fermentation increased fecal wet weight, bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and lactic acid. Consumption of FOS increased flatulence and intestinal bloating. In addition, FOS consumption doubled fecal mucin excretion, indicating mucosal irritation. However, FOS did not affect the cytotoxicity of fecal water and intestinal permeability. The FOS-induced increase in mucin excretion in our human study suggests mucosal irritation in humans, but the overall effects are more moderate than those in rats
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • chain fatty-acids
  • fructo-oligosaccharides
  • mucin secretion
  • in-vitro
  • fecal bifidobacteria
  • double-blind
  • bile-acids
  • rats
  • calcium
  • permeability

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