Effects of fermentation products of pro- and prebiotics on trans-epithelial electrical resistance in an in vitro model of the colon

Daniel M Commane, Colette T Shortt, Stefania Silvi, Albert Cresci, Roisin M Hughes, Ian R Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence from in vivo and in vitro studies suggests that the consumption of pro- and prebiotics may inhibit colon carcinogenesis; however, the mechanisms involved have, thus far, proved elusive. There are some indications from animal studies that the effects are being exerted during the promotion stage of carcinogenesis. One feature of the promotion stage of colorectal cancer is the disruption of tight junctions, leading to a loss of integrity across the intestinal barrier. We have used the Caco-2 human adenocarcinoma cell line as a model for the intestinal epithelia. Trans-epithelial electrical resistance measurements indicate Caco-2 monolayer integrity, and we recorded changes to this integrity following exposure to the fermentation products of selected probiotics and prebiotics, in the form of nondigestible oligosaccharides (NDOs). Our results indicate that NDOs themselves exert varying, but generally minor, effects upon the strength of the tight junctions, whereas the fermentation products of probiotics and NDOs tend to raise tight junction integrity above that of the controls. This effect was bacterial species and oligosaccharide specific. Bifidobacterium Bb 12 was particularly effective, as were the fermentation products of Raftiline and Raftilose. We further investigated the ability of Raftilose fermentations to protect against the negative effects of deoxycholic acid (DCA) upon tight junction integrity. We found protection to be species dependent and dependent upon the presence of the fermentation products in the media at the same time as or after exposure to the DCA. Results suggest that the Raftilose fermentation products may prevent disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier function during damage by tumor promoters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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