In vitro production of short-chain fatty acids by bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber compared with effects of those fibers on hepatic sterol synthesis in rats

A. H. Stark, Z. Madar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of fiber feeding on short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production in laboratory rats and in an in vitro fermentation model using fecal inocula from rats adapted to a high fiber diet. In addition, the effect of fiber intake on endogenous sterol synthesis was evaluated. Twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups and fed a control or 30% fiber diet (cellulose, pectin or pea fiber) for 4 wk. In vitro fermentation was compared with measurements of cecal SCFA content of fiber-adapted rats. Sterol synthesis in isolated hepatocytes was determined in groups of five to seven rats fed 15% dietary fiber for 4 wk. Cellulose was poorly fermented in both the in vitro and in vivo experiments. Pectin fermentation produced high levels of propionate, whereas pea fiber was associated with notable butyrate production. Adaptation to pectin produced seven times more SCFA in rat cecal contents (515 ± 78 μmol) in comparison to a fiber-free diet (70.6 ± 4.9 μmol), with similar results observed in vitro. Sterol synthesis in hepatocytes of rats fed pectin was significantly greater than in those of control or cellulose-fed rats. Despite significantly higher rates of SCFA production in pectin-fed rats, cholesterol synthesis was not inhibited, suggesting that SCFA are not the cholesterol-lowering factor of highly fermentable fiber sources.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2166-2173
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume123
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993

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