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Nutrition. 2003 Jul-Aug;19(7-8):657-60.

Influence of fructooligosaccharides on Peyer's patch lymphocyte numbers in healthy and endotoxemic mice.

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Department of Surgical Research, Vienna, Austria.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether fructooligosaccharides (FOS) exert an immunomodulating effect on Peyer's patches (PP), the main inductive site of the intestinal immune system. We investigated the effects of FOS in healthy and endotoxemic animals.


Six-week-old female Balb/c mice were fed a control diet or a diet supplemented with 10% FOS over a period of 16 d. To induce endotoxemia, mice were challenged intraperitoneally with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on day 15. PP were excised from mice, and lymphocyte subpopulations (B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, CD4(+) cells, and CD8(+) cells) were determined by flow cytometry.


The FOS-enriched diet increased the total cell yield in healthy and endotoxemic mice (P < 0.001). Similarly, B lymphocytes were increased in both groups (P < 0.001). In contrast, T lymphocytes were unaltered in healthy mice but increased in LPS-challenged mice after FOS enrichment (P < 0.001). In endotoxemic mice but not in control animals, the increase of CD4(+) cells (P < 0.001) was more pronounced than that of CD8(+) cells (P < 0.001), thus increasing the CD4:CD8 ratio (P < 0.01).


FOS showed an immunostimulating effect on PP lymphocytes under healthy and endotoxemic conditions. Thus it can be concluded that FOS administration affects not only the large intestine but also the main inductive part of the mucosal immune system in the small intestine.

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