Bovine colostrum-driven modulation of intestinal epithelial cells for increased commensal colonisation

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2019 Mar;103(6):2745-2758. doi: 10.1007/s00253-019-09642-0. Epub 2019 Jan 26.


Nutritional intake may influence the intestinal epithelial glycome and in turn the available attachment sites for bacteria. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that bovine colostrum may influence the intestinal cell surface and in turn the attachment of commensal organisms. Human HT-29 intestinal cells were exposed to a bovine colostrum fraction (BCF) rich in free oligosaccharides. The adherence of several commensal bacteria, comprising mainly bifidobacteria, to the intestinal cells was significantly enhanced (up to 52-fold) for all strains tested which spanned species that are found across the human lifespan. Importantly, the changes to the HT-29 cell surface did not support enhanced adhesion of the enteric pathogens tested. The gene expression profile of the HT-29 cells following treatment with the BCF was evaluated by microarray analysis. Many so called "glyco-genes" (glycosyltransferases and genes involved in the complex biosynthetic pathways of glycans) were found to be differentially regulated suggesting modulation of the enzymatic addition of sugars to glycoconjugate proteins. The microarray data was further validated by means of real-time PCR. The current findings provide an insight into how commensal microorganisms colonise the human gut and highlight the potential of colostrum and milk components as functional ingredients that can potentially increase commensal numbers in individuals with lower counts of health-promoting bacteria.

Keywords: Adherence; Bifidobacteria; Colostrum; Glycosylation; Modulation; Transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Bifidobacterium / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology*
  • Female
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Pregnancy
  • Symbiosis*
  • Transcriptome


  • Oligosaccharides

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