Apart from its role as a digestive and absorptive organ, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a vital immune organ that encompasses roughly 70% of the total immune cells of the body. As such, the physical, chemical and nutrient composition of the diet influences overall GI function, effectively as an immune organ. With the improvement in feed technology, agro-industrial co-products that are high in fibre have been widely used as a feed ingredient in the diets of pigs and poultry. Arabinoxylan (AX) and mannan are the most abundant hemicellulosic polysaccharides present in cereal grain and co-product ingredients used in the livestock industry. When monogastric animals consume diets containing high amounts of AX and mannans, stimulation of GI immune cells may occur. This involves the activation of several cellular and molecular pathways of the immune system and requires a considerable amount of energy and nutrients to be expended by the animal, which may ultimately influence overall health and growth performance of animals. Therefore, a better understanding of the role of AX and mannan in immune modulation will be helpful in modulating untoward GI immune responses, thereby minimising nutrient and energy expenditure toward this effort. This review will summarise pertinent research on the role of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides containing AX and mannans in immune modulation in order to preserve gut integrity.
- Immune modulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism