Wheat-derived arabinoxylans reduced M2-macrophage functional activity, but enhanced monocyte-recruitment capacity

Food Funct. 2020 Aug 19;11(8):7073-7083. doi: 10.1039/d0fo00316f.


The immunomodulatory properties of non-digestible polysaccharides (NDPs) have been recognized in in vitro and in vivo studies. The latter mostly demonstrated altered frequencies and inflammatory status of immune cells as clinical parameters. Most of the NDP activity will be exerted in the intestine where they can directly interact with macrophages. The predominant macrophage phenotype in the intestine is M2-like, with M1-like macrophages arising during inflammation. Here, we investigated transcriptional and functional impact on these macrophage phenotypes by NDP-treatment (i.e. yeast-derived soluble β-glucan (yeast-βG), apple-derived RG-I (apple-RGI), shiitake-derived β-glucan (shiitake-βG) or wheat-derived arabinoxylan (wheat-AX)). Wheat-AX, and to a lesser extent shiitake-βG and apple-RGI but not yeast-βG, reduced endocytosis and antigen processing capacity of M1- and M2-like macrophages. Moreover, the NDPs, and most notably wheat-AX, strongly induced transcription and secretion of a unique set of cytokines and chemokines. Conditioned medium from wheat-AX-treated M2-like macrophages subsequently demonstrated strongly increased monocyte recruitment capacity. These findings are in line with clinically observed immunomodulatory aspects of NDPs making it tempting to speculate that clinical activity of some NDPs is mediated through enhanced chemoattraction and modifying activity of intestinal immune cells.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Lentinula / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Triticum / chemistry*
  • Xylans / analysis
  • Xylans / pharmacology*
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Xylans
  • beta-Glucans
  • arabinoxylan

Supplementary concepts

  • Lentinula lateritia