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Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota

ObjectiveContrary to the long-standing prerequisite of inducing selective (i.e. bifidogenic) effects, recent findings suggest that prebiotic interventions lead to ecosystem-wide microbiota shifts. Yet, a comprehensive characterization of this process is still lacking. Here, we apply 16S rDNA microbiota profiling and matching (GC-MS) metabolomics to assess the consequences of inulin fermentation both on the composition of the colon bacterial ecosystem and fecal metabolites profiles.DesignFecal samples collected during a double blind, randomized, cross-over intervention study (NCT02548247) set up to assess the effect of inulin consumption on stool frequency in healthy adults with mild constipation were analyzed. Fecal microbiota composition and metabolite profiles were linked to the study’s clinical outcome as well as to quality-of-life measurements recorded.ResultsWhile fecal metabolite profiles were not significantly altered by inulin consumption, our analyses did detect a modest effect on global microbiota composition. At the same time, specific inulin-induced changes in relative abundances of Anaerostipes, Bilophila, and Bifidobacterium were identified. The observed decrease in Bilophila abundances following inulin consumption was associated with both softer stools and a favorable change in constipation-specific quality of life measures.ConclusionsEcosystem-wide analysis of the effect of a dietary intervention with prebiotic inulin-type fructans on the colon microbiota revealed that this effect is specifically associated to three genera, one of which (Bilophila) representing a promising novel target for mechanistic research.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001004956 Illumina MiSeq 196
Publications Citations
Effect of consumption of chicory inulin on bowel function in healthy subjects with constipation: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Int J Food Sci Nutr 68: 2017 82-89
Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota.
Gut 66: 2017 1968-1974