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J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4):837-42.

Dietary fructooligosaccharides increase intestinal permeability in rats.

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Nutrition and Health Program, Wageningen Center for Food Sciences/NIZO Food Research, 6710 BA Ede, The Netherlands.


We showed previously that fructooligosaccharides (FOS) decrease the resistance to salmonella infection in rats. However, the mechanism responsible for this effect is unclear. Therefore, we examined whether dietary FOS affects intestinal permeability before and after infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. Male Wistar rats were fed restricted quantities of a purified diet that mimicked the composition of a Western human diet. The diet was supplemented with 60 g/kg cellulose (control) or 60 g/kg FOS and with 4 mmol/kg of the intestinal permeability marker chromium EDTA (CrEDTA) (n = 8 or 10). After an adaptation period of 2 wk, rats were orally infected with 10(8) colony-forming units (cfu) of S. enteritidis. Mucin concentrations in intestinal contents and mucosa were measured fluorimetrically, as markers of mucosal irritation. Intestinal permeability was determined by measuring urinary CrEDTA excretion. Translocation of salmonella was quantified by analysis of urinary nitric oxide metabolites with time. Before infection, FOS increased mucosal lactobacilli and enterobacteria in cecum and colon, but not in the ileum. However, FOS increased cytotoxicity of fecal water and intestinal permeability. Moreover, FOS increased fecal mucin excretion and mucin concentrations in cecal and colonic contents, and in cecal mucosa before infection. After infection, mucin excretion and intestinal permeability in the FOS groups increased even further in contrast to the control group. In addition, FOS increased translocation of salmonella to extraintestinal sites. Thus, FOS impairs the intestinal barrier in rats, as indicated by higher intestinal permeability. Whether these results can be extrapolated to humans requires further investigation.

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