Dietary curdlan enhances bifidobacteria and reduces intestinal inflammation in mice

Shafaque Rahman, Mark Davids, Patricia H. P. van Hamersveld, Olaf Welting, Hakim Rahaoui, Frank Schuren, Sybren L. Meijer, René M. van den Wijngaard, Theodorus B. M. Hakvoort, Wouter J. de Jonge, Sigrid E. M. Heinsbroek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


β-glucan consumption is known for its beneficial health effects, but the mode of action is unclear. While humans and mice lack the required enzymes to digest β-glucans, certain intestinal microbes can digest β-glucans, triggering gut microbial changes. Curdlan, a particulate β-glucan isolated from Alcaligenes faecalis, is used as a food additive. In this study we determined the effect of curdlan intake in mice on the intestinal microbiota and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced intestinal inflammation. The effect of curdlan on the human intestinal microbiota was assessed using i-screen, an assay for studying anaerobic microbial interactions. Mice received oral gavage with vehicle or curdlan for 14 days followed by DSS for 7 days. The curdlan-fed group showed reduced weight loss and colonic inflammation compared to the vehicle-fed group. Curdlan intake did not induce general microbiota community changes, although a specific Bifidobacterium, closely related to Bifidobacterium choerinum, was observed to be 10-to 100-fold more prevalent in the curdlan-fed group under control and colitis conditions, respectively. When tested in i-screen, curdlan induced a global change in the microbial composition of the healthy intestinal microbiota from a human. Overall, these results suggest that dietary curdlan induces microbiota changes that could reduce intestinal inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1305
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Curdlan
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Microbiota

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