The beneficial effects of prebiotic fibres on human health have been related to their capacities to alter the gut microbiota and modify the growth of beneficial microorganisms. It is long appreciated that bacterial metabolites affect the host's physiology. The inner lining of the intestinal tract is the first level of interaction between the host and bacteria and their metabolites. Therefore, we set out to test the effects of five common dietary fibres (oat β-glucan 28%; oat β-glucan 94%; dried chicory root containing inulin 75%; xylo-oligosaccharide; inulin 90%) and maltodextrin, after fermentation by human gut microbiota in vitro, on measures of gut barrier integrity using a Caco-2/HT29-MTX co-culture as well as mucus production and immune parameters using HT29-MTX and HT29 cell models, respectively. Our data show that all fibres, fermentation products increased the tightness of the gut barrier with oat β-glucan 28% having the largest effect. Fermentation supernatants were tested also in models of the compromised gut barrier (leaky gut). After the addition of ethanol as basolateral stressor, only fermentation supernatant of oat β-glucan 28%, oat β-glucan 94% and maltodextrin improved the gut barrier integrity, while oat β-glucan 28% and dried chicory root containing inulin 75% significantly improved the gut barrier integrity after addition of rhamnolipids as apical stressor. Using the Luminex Technology, we demonstrated an important role of oat β-glucan fermentation products in modulating cytokine and chemokine productions. Furthermore, treating the goblet cells with effluent from xylo-oligosaccharide fermentation significantly increased mucus production. In summary, our data emphasize the potential positive effects of fermentation supernatant of dietary fibres on gut-related physiological outcomes and show that prebiotic fibres may have promising potential to induce specific gut health benefits.
Keywords: Epithelial barrier; Leaky gut; Oat β-glucan; Prebiotics; Tight junctions.