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J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):153-6.

Prebiotic inulin enriched with oligofructose in combination with the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis modulates intestinal immune functions in rats.

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Institute of Nutritional Physiology, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Karlsruhe, Germany.


Probiotics (PRO) modulate systemic immunity in animals and humans. In contrast, the effects of prebiotics (PRE) on systemic and intestinal immunity have not been investigated. Whether the combined application of PRO and PRE [synbiotics (SYN)] has synergistic or additive effects is presently unknown. Therefore, PRO (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12), PRE (inulin enriched with oligofructose), and SYN (combination of PRO and PRE) were fed to F344 rats for 4 wk as supplements to a high fat diet. Functions of immune cells isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), spleen, mesenterial lymph nodes and Peyer's patches (PP) were investigated. The SYN supplement increased secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) production in the ileum compared with controls fed the high fat diet alone (P<0.05), and decreased the oxidative burst activity of blood neutrophils (P<0.05) compared with rats fed PRO. The PRE supplement enhanced the production of interleukin-10 (P<0.05) in PP as well as the production of sIgA in the cecum (P<0.05), compared with controls. The PRO supplement modestly affected immune functions, whereas systemic immunomodulatory effects were observed in rats fed SYN. The PRE supplement primarily acted at the level of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. The combined application of PRO and PRE has different effects from those of the individual supplements, but does not simply result in additive or synergistic effects.

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