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Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 19;5:9253. doi: 10.1038/srep09253.

Phytonutrient diet supplementation promotes beneficial Clostridia species and intestinal mucus secretion resulting in protection against enteric infection.

Author information

  • 11] Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 [2] Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4.
  • 2Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, T6G 2P5.
  • 3Pancosma, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 41] Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 [2] Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 [3] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4.

Abstract

Plant extracts, or phytonutrients, are used in traditional medicine practices as supplements to enhance the immune system and gain resistance to various infectious diseases and are used in animal production as health promoting feed additives. To date, there are no studies that have assessed their mechanism of action and ability to alter mucosal immune responses in the intestine. We characterized the immunomodulatory function of six phytonutrients: anethol, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, capsicum oleoresin and garlic extract. Mice were treated with each phytonutrient to assess changes to colonic gene expression and mucus production. All six phytonutrients showed variable changes in expression of innate immune genes in the colon. However only eugenol stimulated production of the inner mucus layer, a key mucosal barrier to microbes. The mechanism by which eugenol causes mucus layer thickening likely involves microbial stimulation as analysis of the intestinal microbiota composition showed eugenol treatment led to an increase in abundance of specific families within the Clostridiales order. Further, eugenol treatment confers colonization resistance to the enteric pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. These results suggest that eugenol acts to strengthen the mucosal barrier by increasing the thickness of the inner mucus layer, which protects against invading pathogens and disease.

PMID:
25787310
PMCID:
PMC4365398
DOI:
10.1038/srep09253
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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