The present review is focused on the prebiotic impact of inulin on the management of the gastrointestinal disorder. Prebiotics can be described as "non-digestible food ingredient stimulating the growth of a certain number of bacteria in the colon, which can improve the host health". In 2004 this definition was modernized to include other areas that may benefit from selective targeting of particular microorganisms: "selectively fermented ingredients that alter the configuration and activity in the gastrointestinal microbiota that confer positive effect". The positive impact of prebiotics in experimental colitis and human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has already been established. Prebiotics shows a positive effect in the prevention of IBD by modulating the trophic functions of the flora. Inulin enhances the growth of indigenous lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria by inducing colonic production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA's) and these properties are related to decreased mucosal lesion scores and diminished mucosal inflammation. Inulin shows a positive approach to retain microbial populations and to support epithelial barrier function by their prebiotic effect which helps in the host defense against invasion and pathogens translocation (endogenous and/or exogenous) and in the inhibition of gastrointestinal diseases and this impact should be verified in further clinical studies. In the present review, we discussed the positive effect of prebiotics in rat IBD models and in human subjects along with their potential protective mechanisms. Preclinical and clinical data revealed that the gut mucosal barrier would be improved by the use of prebiotics in IBD.
Keywords: Inulin; inflammatory bowel disease; microflora; prebiotics.