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posted on 17.04.2018, 07:24 by Yue He, Chengfei Wu, Jiahong Li, Hongli Li, Zhenghua Sun, Hao Zhang, Paul de Vos, Li-Long Pan, Jia Sun

Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a common abdominal inflammatory disorder and one of the leading causes of hospital admission for gastrointestinal disorders. No specific pharmacological or nutritional therapy is available but highly needed. Inulin-type fructans (ITFs) are capable of modifying gut immune and barrier homeostasis in a chemistry-dependent manner and hence potentially applicable for managing AP, but their efficacy in AP has not been demonstrated yet. The current study aimed to examine and compare modulatory effects of ITFs with different degrees of fermentability on pancreatic–gut immunity and barrier function during experimentally induced AP in mice. BALB/c mice were fed short (I)- or long (IV)-chain ITFs supplemented diets for up to 3 days before AP induction by caerulein. Attenuating effects on AP development were stronger with ITF IV than with ITF I. We found that long-chain ITF IV attenuated the severity of AP, as evidenced by reduced serum amylase levels, lipase levels, pancreatic myeloperoxidase activity, pancreatic edema, and histological examination demonstrating reduced pancreatic damage. Short-chain ITF I demonstrated only partial protective effects. Both ITF IV and ITF I modulated AP-associated systemic cytokine levels. ITF IV but not ITF I restored AP-associated intestinal barrier dysfunction by upregulating colonic tight junction modulatory proteins, antimicrobial peptides, and improved general colonic histology. Additionally, differential modulatory effects of ITF IV and ITF I were observed on pancreatic and gut immunity: ITF IV supplementation prevented innate immune cell infiltration in the pancreas and colon and tissue cytokine production. Similar effects were only observed in the gut with ITF I and not in the pancreas. Lastly, ITF IV but not ITF I downregulated AP-triggered upregulation of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK-4) and phosphor-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (p-JNK), and a net decrease of phosphor-nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) p65 (p-NF-κB p65) nuclear translocation and activation in the pancreas. Our findings demonstrate a clear chain length-dependent effect of inulin on AP. The attenuating effects are caused by modulating effects of long-chain inulin on the pancreatic–gut immunity via the pancreatic IRAK-4/p-JNK/p-NF-κBp65 signaling pathway and on prevention of disruption of the gut barrier.

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