Health Related Effects Associated with Colonic Microflora

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Targets

Colonic mucosa

Colonic functions

Nutrition

Metabolic activities

Effects

Structure of villi

Epithelial cell growth

Epithelial cell differentiation

Cell cycle

Mitotic index

Apoptotic index

Motility

Transit of bolus pH of bolus

Stool bulking

Stool frequency

Hydrolysis and fermentation of nondigestible carbohydrates (dietary fibers, oligosaccharides) Hydrolysis and fermentation of nondigested proteins and peptides Hydrolysis of nondigested lipids and production of free fatty acids Partial salvage of energy of nondigested dietary components Production of

• Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)

• Branched short-chain fatty acids (BSCFAs)

Defence mechanisms

Endocrine activity

Deconjugation and dehydroxylation of bile acids

Degradation of cholesterol

Catabolism of steroid hormones

Synthesis of vitamins

Disposal of hydrogen

Production of mutagens (e.g., nitrosamines) Metabolism of xenobiotics Stimulation of immune system Enhanced resistance to infections Barrier effect Colonization resistance

Modulation of activity(ies) of endocrine-active cells in colonic mucosa (e.g., L-cells)

content (low pH). In the left/distal (descending segment and sigmoid-rectum) colon, the availability of substrates (especially carbohydrates) is usually low, bacteria grow slowly, and pH is close to neutrality (7).1 Moreover, the breakdown and fermentation of organic materials reaching the large bowel is a complex process that involves different groups of bacteria with miscellaneous and complementary activities. Bacteria are generally not specific for particular metabolic activities; they all metabolize

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