26 August 2010 Last updated at 01:01 GMT
Broccoli 'boosts' healthy gut
By Helen Briggs Health reporter, BBC News
Broccoli Broccoli is high in vitamins and minerals
Extracts of broccoli and banana may help in fighting stomach problems, research suggests.
Laboratory studies show fibres from the vegetables may boost the body's natural defences against stomach infections.
Trials are under way to see if they could be used as a medical food for patients with Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
It affects about 1 in 1,000 people, and is thought to be caused by a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.
The condition is common in developed countries, where diets are often low in fibre and high in processed food.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool looked at how roughage from vegetables influenced the passage of harmful bacteria through cells inside the gut.
They found that fibres from the plantain, a type of large banana, and broccoli, were particularly beneficial. But a common stabiliser added to processed foods during the manufacturing process had the opposite effect.
Dr Barry Campbell, from the University of Liverpool, said: "This research shows that different dietary components can have powerful effects on the movement of bacteria through the bowel.
"We have known for some time the general health benefits of eating plantain and broccoli, which are both high in vitamins and minerals, but until now we have not understood how they can boost the body's natural defences against infection common in Crohn's patients.
"Our work suggests that it might be important for patients with this condition to eat healthily and limit their intake of processed foods."
The research, published in the journal Gut, and carried out in collaboration with experts in Sweden and Scotland, investigated special cells, called M-cells, which line the gut and ward off invading bacteria.
Work was carried out in laboratory-grown cells and tissue samples from patients undergoing surgery for stomach problems.
Clinical trials are now underway in 76 Crohn's patients to find out whether a medical food containing plantain fibres could help keep the disease at bay.
"It may be that it makes sense for sufferers of Crohn's to take supplements of these fibres to help prevent relapse," said Professor Jon Rhodes of the University of Liverpool.
Commenting on the study, a spokesperson for Crohn's and Colitis, which represents patients with inflammatory bowel disorders, welcomed further insight into how the gut combats bacteria like E.Coli.
"Knowledge of the M-cell role offers a more detailed explanation as to why a healthy diet can improve the health and well being for people with Crohn's disease and healthy individuals alike," she said.
Translocation of Crohn's disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: contrasting effects of soluble plant fibres and emulsifiers
1. Carol L Roberts1,
2. Åsa V Keita2,
3. Sylvia H Duncan3,
4. Niamh O'Kennedy4,
5. Johan D Söderholm2,
6. Jonathan M Rhodes1,
7. Barry J Campbell1
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Gastroenterology Research Unit, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
2. 2Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
3. 3The Microbial Ecology Group, The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Bucksburn, UK
4. 4Provexis Plc, c/o Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, UK
Correspondence to Dr Barry J Campbell, Gastroenterology Research Unit, University School of Clinical Sciences, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 3GE, UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors BJC, CLR, JDS and JMR designed the research and obtained funding; CLR, AVK and SHD performed experiments; BJC, CLR, JMR, NO'K, AVK, JDS and SHD performed analysis and interpretation of data; NO'K provided material support; BJC, CLR and JMR wrote the manuscript.
* Revised 28 May 2010
* Accepted 1 June 2010
* Published Online First 2 September 2010
Background Crohn's disease is common in developed nations where the typical diet is low in fibre and high in processed food. Primary lesions overlie Peyer's patches and colonic lymphoid follicles where bacterial invasion through M-cells occurs. We have assessed the effect of soluble non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) and food emulsifiers on translocation of Escherichia coli across M-cells.
Methods To assess effects of soluble plant fibres and food emulsifiers on translocation of mucosa-associated E coli isolates from Crohn's disease patients and from non-Crohn's controls, we used M-cell monolayers, generated by co-culture of Caco2-cl1 and Raji B cells, and human Peyer's patches mounted in Ussing chambers.
Results E coli translocation increased across M-cells compared to parent Caco2-cl1 monocultures; 15.8-fold (IQR 6.2–32.0) for Crohn's disease E coli (N=8) and 6.7-fold (IQR 3.7–21.0) for control isolates (N=5). Electron microscopy confirmed E coli within M-cells. Plantain and broccoli NSP markedly reduced E coli translocation across M-cells at 5 mg/ml (range 45.3–82.6% inhibition, p<0.01); apple and leek NSP had no significant effect. Polysorbate-80, 0.01% vol/vol, increased E coli translocation through Caco2-cl1 monolayers 59-fold (p<0.05) and, at higher concentrations, increased translocation across M-cells. Similarly, E coli translocation across human Peyer's patches was reduced 45±7% by soluble plantain NSP (5 mg/ml) and increased 2-fold by polysorbate-80 (0.1% vol/vol).
Conclusions Translocation of E coli across M-cells is reduced by soluble plant fibres, particularly plantain and broccoli, but increased by the emulsifier Polysorbate-80. These effects occur at relevant concentrations and may contribute to the impact of dietary factors on Crohn's disease pathogenesis.
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