Scientists have demonstrated in a study that oral administration of chitooligosaccharides (degraded forms of chitin) might have potential anti colitis effects1.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease of large intestine which is also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. Common symptoms include; weight loss, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping rectal pain seriously affecting patient’s quality of life2.
Chitooligosaccharides (COS), are the degraded products of chitin prepared by enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis of chitosan. The better solubility and little viscosity of COS have fascinated the attention of many researchers to exploit COS and their derivatives for a variety of biomedical applications3.
It is interesting to note that COS have already been suggested as promising pre-biotics4. Despite this fact all previous studies are in vitro based. In order to confirm prebiotic property of COS in vivo a new study was performed. Authors of this said:
“In our study, confirmation of prebiotic property of COS in vivo and further clarification of the mechanisms of their anti colitis effect was deliberated. The ability of COS to modulate the colon microbial composition in normal and dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) induced colitis mice were evaluated by qualitative analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) in colonic content samples using real-time PCR.”
In order to achieve this, a specific dose of COS was orally given to normal mice. The mice with induced colitis were treated with DSS. The colon microbial composition in mice was evaluated by qualitative analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA in colonic content samples using real-time PCR.
This study established that, parallel with many oligosaccharides extracted from natural products, COS could function as prebiotics by increasing the levels of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and restraining the growth of potential pathogens such as Enterococcus.
It was also found that the oral intake of COS can enhance the colonic concentrations of (SCFAs – Short Chain Fatty Acids). SCFAs are the controlling fermentation end products of bacteria in the large bowel with abilities to support different processes such as; the transport process, cellular growth, energy metabolism and differentiation of colonocytes.
These data recommended that COS administration might have beneficial effects on the health of the intestinal tract. Furthermore, based on the mouse experimental colitis following DSS challenge, a well accepted colonic inflammation model resembling human Ulcerative colitis UC, this study demonstrated that COS possessed the preventive effect on the development of colitis and most importantly, tended to protect mice from dysbiosis of native gut microbiome and against the suppression of SCFA production, which might be a potential mechanism for their anti colitis effect.
Written by: Rabeeia
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17 November, 2019