Prebiotics fructo-, galacto-, and mannan-oligosaccharide do not protect against 5-fluorouracil induced intestinal mucositis in rats

Roger Yazbeck, Ruth Lindsay, Mark Geier, Ross Butler, Gordon Howarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract, and have been investigated in human and animal studies for their capacity to improve intestinal health. Objective: We investigated the prebiotics fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) and mannan-oligosaccharide (MOS) for their potential to alleviate intestinal damage in rats. Methods: Female Dark Agouti rats (6-8 weeks, 110-150g) were allocated to one of the following treatment groups (n=8/group): saline/water, saline/FOS, saline/GOS, saline/MOS, 5FU/water, 5FU/FOS, 5FU/GOS and 5FU/MOS. Rats were pre-treated with either 5% GOS, MOS, FOS vehicle (water) from day -12 to day 0. On day 0, rats received a single intraperitoneal injection of saline or 5-fluorouracil (5FU). Metabolic data was recorded daily and all rats were euthanized on day 3. Histopathology was quantified in haematoxylin & eosin stained sections. Intestinal sucrase and myeloperoxidase activity were quantified by biochemical assay. Fecal short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), acetic, propionic, and butyric acid were also measured. Statistical analysis was by repeated measures, two-way ANOVA or Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test, p<0.05 was considered statistically significant. Result: Bodyweight was significantly decreased in all treatment groups following 5-FU injection, with no change in bodyweight observed in any prebiotic treatment group. Total food intake was lower by at least 7% in the GOS treatment group pre-5FU compared to all other groups (p<0.05). Ileal villus height was 18% higher in GOS treated rats pre-5FU compared to respective water control (p<0.05). Jejunal and Ileal Villus height and crypt depth was significantly decreased in all treatment groups after 5-FU injection, with no prebiotic effect observed. SCFAs were differentially increased in prebiotic treatment groups compared to water only controls (p<0.05).Conclusions: FOS, GOS and MOS have differential effects in modifying small intestinal pathology and SCFA profiles in rats with healthy and damaged small intestinal mucosa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2164-2173
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • animal model
  • rat
  • intestinal damage
  • prebiotics
  • small intestine

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