Dietary fiber fermentability alters the ileal response to Trichinella spiralis infection in rats

K. A. Tappenden, C. T. Noyes, C. Y. Chen, G. A. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nutrient composition of the diet is known to alter small intestinal morphology and function. The addition of fermentable fiber to an elemental diet increases intestinal proliferation and absorptive function; however, the effect of fermentable fiber on mucosal immune function is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of fermentable fiber on the electrophysiological response to infection. In this experiment, 48 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to receive an oral gavage containing T. spiralis or normal saline. Animals were further randomized to receive an elemental diet containing cellulose (an inert fiber) or pectin (a fermentable fiber). Following 10 or 30 days of diet consumption, jejunal and ileal electrophysiological parameters were studied in Ussing chambers. Transmural electrical resistance was higher (p=0.007) in the ileum of the 10 day infected group receiving the pectin diet. Ileal glucose transport by the sodium/glucose co-transporter was higher (p<0.015) in the non-infected groups, and lowest (p<0.001) in the infected groups consuming pectin. Similarly, pectin consumption decreased (p<0.001) the ileal chloride secretion induced by serotonin and carbachol. No differences due to fiber consumption were noted in the jejunum. These results suggest that dietary fiber consumption alters the response to infection in the ileum. In contrast to results obtained in the normal small intestine, fermentable fiber does not appear to maintain small intestinal function during infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 20 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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