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J Nutr. 2007 Nov;137(11 Suppl):2547S-2551S.

Modulation of glucagon-like peptide 1 and energy metabolism by inulin and oligofructose: experimental data.

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  • 1Unit of Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism, Nutrition and Toxicology, Universit√© Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Inulin-type fructans have been tested for their capacity to modulate lipid and glucose metabolism in several animal models. Oligofructose (OFS) decreases food intake, fat mass development, and hepatic steatosis in normal and in obese rats; moreover, it exerts an antidiabetic effect in streptozotocin-treated rats and high-fat-fed mice. In most cases, the beneficial effects of OFS are linked to an increase of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) level in the portal vein and of GLP-1 and proglucagon mRNA, its precursor, in the proximal colon. In this organ, OFS increases the number of GLP-1-positive L cells by promoting factors (Neurogenin 3 and NeuroD) involved in the differentiation of stem cells into L cells. The chronic administration of GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin 9-39 totally prevents the beneficial effects of OFS (improved glucose tolerance, fasting blood glucose, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, insulin-sensitive hepatic glucose production, and reduced body weight gain). Furthermore GLP-1 receptor knockout mice are completely insensitive to the antidiabetic actions of OFS. These findings highlight the potential interest of enhancing endogenous GLP-1 secretion by inulin-type fructans for the prevention/treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, OFS is also able to modulate other gastrointestinal peptides (such as PYY and ghrelin) that could be involved in the control of food intake. Several studies in humans already support interest in OFS in the control of satiety, triglyceridemia, or steatohepatitis. The link with gut peptides production in humans remains to be proven.

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