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posted on 09.03.2018, 04:07 by Ling Xiao, Thea Leusink-Muis, Nienke Kettelarij, Ingrid van Ark, Bernadet Blijenberg, Nienke A. Hesen, Bernd Stahl, Saskia A. Overbeek, Johan Garssen, Gert Folkerts, Belinda van’t Land

Human milk is uniquely suited to provide optimal nutrition and immune protection to infants. Human milk oligosaccharides are structural complex and diverse consisting of short chain and long chain oligosaccharides typically present in a 9:1 ratio. 2′-Fucosyllactose (2′FL) is one of the most prominent short chain oligosaccharides and is associated with anti-infective capacity of human milk.


To determine the effect of 2′FL on vaccination responsiveness (both innate and adaptive) in a murine influenza vaccination model and elucidate mechanisms involved.


A dose range of 0.25–5% (w/w) dietary 2′FL was provided to 6-week-old female C57Bl/6JOlaHsd mice 2 weeks prior primary and booster vaccination until the end of the experiment. Intradermal (i.d.) challenge was performed to measure the vaccine-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH). Antigen-specific antibody levels in serum as well as immune cell populations within several organs were evaluated using ELISA and flow cytometry, respectively. In an ex vivo restimulation assay, spleen cells were cocultured with influenza-loaded bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) to study the effects of 2′FL on vaccine-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell proliferation and cytokine secretions. Furthermore, the direct immune regulatory effects of 2′FL were confirmed using in vitro BMDCs T-cell cocultures.


Dietary 2′FL significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced vaccine specific DTH responses accompanied by increased serum levels of vaccine-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 and IgG2a in a dose-dependent manner. Consistently, increased activation marker (CD27) expression on splenic B-cells was detected in mice receiving 2′FL as compared to control mice. Moreover, proliferation of vaccine-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, as well as interferon-γ production after ex vivo restimulation were significantly increased in spleen cells of mice receiving 2′FL as compared to control mice, which were in line with changes detected within dendritic cell populations. Finally, we confirmed a direct effect of 2′FL on the maturation status and antigen presenting capacity of BMDCs.


Dietary intervention with 2′FL improves both humoral and cellular immune responses to vaccination in mice, which might be attributed in part to the direct effects of 2′FL on immune cell differentiation.