In the present study, the direct interaction of commonly consumed fibers with epithelial or dendritic cells (DCs) was studied.Methods and results:
The fibers were characterized for their sugar composition and chain length profile. When in direct contact, fibers activate DCs only mildly. This was different when DCs and fibers were co-cultured together with supernatants from human epithelial cells (Caco spent medium). Caco spent medium enhanced the production of IL-12, IL-1Ra, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, MCP-1 (monocyte chemotactic protein), and MIP-1α but this was strongly attenuated by the dietary fibers. This attenuating effect on proinflammatory cytokines was dependent on the interaction of the fibers with Toll-like receptors as it was reduced by Pepinh-myd88. The interaction of galacto-oligosaccharides, chicory inulin, wheat arabinoxylan, barley β-glucan with epithelial cells and DCs led to changes in the production of the Th1 cytokines in autologous T cells, while chicory inulin, and barley β-glucan reduced the Th2 cytokine IL-6. The Treg-promoting cytokine IL-10 was induced by galacto-oligosaccharides whereas chicory inulin decreased the IL-10 production.Conclusions:
Our results suggest that dietary fibers can modulate the host immune system not only by the recognized mechanism of effects on microbiota but also by direct interaction with the consumer's mucosa. This modulation is dietary fiber type dependent.