Dietary fiber reduces the intestinal absorption of nutrients and the blood concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides.
We wished to test the hypothesis that high-viscosity (HV) and low-viscosity preparations of barley and oat β-glucan modify the expression of selected genes of lipid-binding proteins in the intestinal mucosa and reduce the intestinal in vitro uptake of lipids.
Five different β-glucan extracts were separately added to test solutions at concentrations of 0.1–0.5% (wt/wt), and the in vitro intestinal uptake of lipids into the intestine of rats was assessed. An intestinal cell line was used to determine the effect of β-glucan extracts on the expression of intestinal genes involved in lipid metabolism and fatty acid transport.
All extracts reduced the uptake of 18:2 when the effective resistance of the unstirred water layer was high. When the unstirred layer resistance was low, the HV oat β-glucan extract reduced jejunal 18:2 uptake, while most extracts reduced ileal 18:2 uptake. Ileal 18:0 uptake was reduced by the HV barley extract, while both jejunal and ileal cholesterol uptakes were reduced by the medium-purity HV barley extract. The inhibitory effect of HV barley β-glucan on 18:0 and 18:2 uptake was more pronounced at higher fatty acid concentrations. The expression of genes involved in fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol metabolism was down-regulated with the HV β-glucan extracts. β-Glucan extracts also reduced intestinal fatty-acid-binding protein and fatty acid transport protein 4 mRNA.
The reduced intestinal fatty acid uptake observed with β-glucan is associated with inhibition of genes regulating intestinal uptake and synthesis of lipids. The inhibitory effect of β-glucan on intestinal lipid uptake raises the possibility of their selective use to reduce their intestinal absorption.