Dietary fiber helped barrier function in mice

Wang H, Shi P, Zuo L, Dong J, Zhao J, Liu Q, Zhu W. Dietary Non-digestible Polysaccharides Ameliorate Intestinal Epithelial Barrier Dysfunction in IL-10 Knockout Mice. J Crohns Colitis. 2016. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw065


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Relevance: The research team at the Nanjing University Medical University studied the effects of fiber in the diet by using special laboratory mice. These mice have a genetic mutation that causes them to experience gut inflammation similar to IBD. They used a multi-fiber mix for 4 weeks then measured changes in the mice.

They found a range of benefits:

  • disease activity was reduced
  • a number of inflammatory substances were reduced in the intestinal tissues
  • a number of anti-inflammatory substances were increased in the intestinal tissues
  • barrier function was improved (individuals with IBD have been shown to have a leaky gut – an intestine lined with epithelial cells that are too loosely connected and that allow substance to pass into the body that should be kept out)

As you read the abstract, it will help if you understand these terms:

  • dietary non-digestible polysaccharides = dietary fiber
  • ameliorate = to make better
  • intestinal epithelial barrier = the lining of the intestines (the barrier must let just the right substances through to maintain a healthy gut)
  • dysfunction = one of the problems in Crohn’s disease is that the intestinal barrier is leaky – it lets substances through that should be kept out of the body
  • IL-10 knockout mice = specially bred laboratory mice with a genetic mutation that causes them to develop gut inflammation