Xylooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides affect the intestinal microbiota and precancerous colonic lesion development in rats

J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6):1523-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/134.6.1523.


Certain nondigestible oligosaccharides can be selectively utilized by probiotics and reduce the risk of colon cancer. However, the inhibitory effects of xylooligosaccharides (XOS) on colon cancer are not well documented. This study evaluated the effects of xylooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) on the alteration of cecal microbiota, cecal pH, cecal weight, and serum lipid levels, and also their inhibitory effect on precancerous colon lesions in male Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups: control, treatment with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) [15 mg/(kg body wt.wk) for 2 wk], treatment with DMH + 60 g XOS/kg diet, and treatment with DMH + 60 g FOS/kg diet. Rats were fed the experimental diets for 35 d, beginning 1 wk after the second dose of DMH. Both XOS and FOS markedly decreased the cecal pH and serum triglyceride concentration, and increased the total cecal weight and bifidobacteria population. XOS had a greater effect on the bacterial population than did FOS. Moreover, both XOS and FOS markedly reduced the number of aberrant crypt foci in the colon of DMH-treated rats. These results suggest that XOS and FOS dietary supplementation may be beneficial to gastrointestinal health, and indicate that XOS is more effective than FOS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium / drug effects*
  • Carcinogens
  • Cecum / anatomy & histology
  • Cecum / metabolism
  • Cecum / microbiology*
  • Colonic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Xylans / pharmacology


  • Carcinogens
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Triglycerides
  • Xylans
  • fructooligosaccharide
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine