Effects of Inulin Type Fructans on Lipid Parameters in Healthy Experimental Animals Fed a Standard Diet

Except for one study that was performed in male beagle dogs, all studies so far reported to test for the effect of inulin-type fructans on healthy animals fed a standard diet have used fasted growing male Wistar rats. In these rat studies,11-16 both inulin and oligofructose (10% w/w in diet) have consistently been reported to lower the concentration of serum TAGs by an averaged 30% (range 17 to 60%) (Table 11.1).

Only two publications reported no statistically significant effect on serum TAGs in rats fed a diet containing 5/6 or 10% inulin17-18 even though the former study still reported a significant decrease (31%) in the serum TAGs in rats fed a 20% inulin diet.17 In the same rats, a statistically significant reduction in serum total cholesterol is reported in 4 studies (18, 11, 15, and 21% in, respectively,13-1417-18) but not in the others.11121516 Moreover, in Levrat et al. the effect on serum cholesterol is dose-dependent at 11, 18, and 26% for doses of 5, 10, and 20% inulin, respectively.11 In the studies in which such parameters have been quantified, the hypocholesterolemic effect concerns esterified cholesterol only14 or both esterified and free cholesterol.18 Moreover, one publication12 reports an increase (1.9-fold) in the ratio HDL cholesterol over LDL cholesterol and two publications report a decrease in serum PLPs (D15 and D17% in, respectively,14 and15). Liver TAGs have only been analyzed in three studies, one showing a 24% reduction15 while the others did not report any significant effect.1618 In terms of serum lipoproteins, Fiordaliso et al.14 report no change in LDL and HDL fractions but a statistically significant reduction in the number, but not the lipid composition nor the size of the VLD particles, thus explaining the reduction in plasma TAGs, esterifed cholesterol, and PLPs. In control male Wistar rats fed a standard diet, oligofructose has no effect on the concentration of plasma free fatty acids.1519

When comparing the timing of the effect of oligofructose (10% w/w in diet) on the concentration of lipids in the serum, Kok et al. reported a progressive decrease in serum TAGs in fasted rats which became statistically significant at week 9, whereas in the postprandial state, the decrease of that parameter was already significant after 1 week of treatment and remained lower for up to at least 12 weeks.20 In the postprandial state and after 4 weeks of treatment (oligofructose 10% w/w in diet), the reduction in plasma TAGs was 40%. The plasma concentration of PLPs (16%) but not that of total cholesterol was also significantly reduced. Similarly, in the liver of these rats, the concentrations of both TAGs and PLPs were significantly reduced (26 and 12%, respectively) but not that of cholesterol. In the postprandial state, oligofructose feeding had no effect on plasma-free fatty acids.20

In beagle dogs, Diez et al. similarly showed that supplementing the diet with mixtures of oligofructose (5 and 10% w/w) and sugar beet fiber for 6 weeks reduced the serum TAGs both in starved and postprandial states. Serum total cholesterol was significantly reduced only in dogs fed the mixture containing the highest dose of oligofructose.21

Liver

Animal TAGs

Liver

Animal TAGs

Species

Diet

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