Innate and adaptive immune effects of chicory root dietary fibers

Leonie Vogt

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Metadata studies show that dietary fibers prevent the risk of several diseases and can benefit the immune system. Because they have different structures, not all fibers are alike in their function. Inulin-type fructans (ITFs), the main fiber type in chicory root, were used as model fibers to develop the lab technology for further studies to canvass the beneficial effects of chicory root fibers for the immune system and the gut barrier.
    We discovered that, upon contact with short chain ITFs, immune cells give off an ‘OK’ signal, thus inhibiting further immune reactions, but long chain ITFs induced ‘alarm’ signals, thereby capable of further activating the immune system in the body. These differences were confirmed in a human study in young adults, which showed that extra fiber intake inhibited (short chains) or boosted (long chains) the response to hepatitis B vaccination, a safe and controlled way to monitor an immune reaction.
    The same receptors for these fibers as identified on the immune cells, are present on the lining of the gut wall, the epithelium. These receptors are known to regulate the barrier function of the gut, to prevent gut content from leaking to surrounding tissues. Stimulation of gut epithelial cells with short chain-, but not long chain ITFs, prevented the barrier from weakening when exposed to an inflammatory chemical.
    As major byproduct components of chicory root pulp, cellulose and pectins were studied for the same features, and these byproducts were found to be additional promising ingredients for human health promoting foods.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • de Vos, Paul, Supervisor
    • Faas, Marijke, Co-supervisor
    Award date12-Oct-2015
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8174-9
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8173-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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