Galacto-oligosaccharides may directly enhance intestinal barrier function through the modulation of goblet cells

Shikha Bhatia, P. Nagendra Prabhu, Ann C. Benefiel, Michael J. Miller, Jomay Chow, Steven R. Davis, H. Rex Gaskins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scope: Here we have tested the hypothesis that prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) may enhance mucosal barrier function through direct modulation of goblet cell function. Methods and results: Human adenocarcinoma-derived LS174T cells, which exhibit an intestinal goblet cell-like phenotype, were used to examine the non-prebiotic effects of GOS on goblet cell functions. LS174T cells were treated with GOS, and the expression of goblet cell secretory product genes mucin 2 (MUC2), trefoil factor 3 (TFF3), resistin-like molecule beta (RETNLB) and the Golgi-sulfotransferase genes, carbohydrate (N-acetylglucosamine-6-O) sulfotransferase 5 (CHST5) and galactose-3-O-sulfotransferase 2 (GAL3ST2), was determined by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. In addition, the abundance of CHST5, TFF3 and RETNLB was confirmed by Western blot analysis. Following treatment with GOS for 72 h, the expression of MUC2 was significantly upregulated 2-4-fold, CHST5 and RETNLB, 5-7-fold, and TFF3 2-4-fold. Western blot analysis demonstrated increased abundance of RETNLB, TFF3 and CHST5. Addition of the Th2 cytokine IL-13 along with GOS resulted in synergistic induction of RETNLB and CHST5. IL-8 secretion was not affected by GOS treatment, suggesting that the effects of GOS are not mediated through an inflammatory pathway. Conclusion: Collectively, the data indicate that GOS may enhance mucosal barrier function through direct stimulation of intestinal goblet cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-573
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Galacto-oligosaccharides
  • Golgi-sulfotransferases
  • LS174T goblet cells
  • RELMβ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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