Fermentable fiber reduces recovery time and improves intestinal function in piglets following Salmonella typhimurium infection

Nancy J. Correa-Matos, Sharon M. Donovan, Richard Isaacson, H. Rex Gaskins, Bryan A. White, Kelly A. Tappenden

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82 Scopus citations


Diarrhea is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. The addition of fiber to infant formulas reduces recovery time following pathogenic infection in infants >6 mo old, but effects on neonates are unknown. The hypothesis that fermentable fiber reduces infection-associated symptoms and enhances intestinal structure and function in neonates was examined. Piglets (2 d old) were randomly assigned to receive formula alone (control) or formula containing methylcellulose (MCEL), soy polysaccharides (SPS) or fructooligosaccharides (FOS) for 14 d. On d 7, piglets were further randomly assigned to receive an oral gavage of Salmonella typhimurium or serve as noninfected controls. S. typhimurium infection produced diarrhea in controls and MCEL groups, but not in the SPS and FOS groups. Postinfection physical activity was lower (P = 0.0001) in the controls than in all other groups. Ileal lactase activity was reduced (P < 0.05) following infection in the control group but not in the MCEL, SPS and FOS groups. Ileal mucosal barrier function, measured as resistance, was impaired by infection (P < 0.05) in the control and SPS groups, but was unaltered in the jejunum and colon. Total ion transport and basal short-circuit current were higher (P < 0.05) in jejunum than in ileum and colon, irrespective of diet or infection. SPS and FOS increased (P < 0.05) ileal glutamine transport relative to piglets fed MCEL, irrespective of infection. Because fermentable fiber enhances intestinal function and reduces the severity of S. typhimurium infection-associated symptoms, it may be a cost-effective way in which to reduce the severity of pathogenic infectionassociated symptoms in infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1845-1852
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Diarrhea
  • Dietary fiber
  • Intestine
  • Piglets
  • Salmonella typhimurium


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