Research Papers: Immunology:

Dietary grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) improve weaned intestinal microbiota and mucosal barrier using a piglet model

Meng Han, Peixia Song, Chang Huang, Arash Rezaei, Shabnam Farrar, Michael A. Brown and Xi Ma _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:80313-80326. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13450

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Meng Han1, Peixia Song1, Chang Huang1, Arash Rezaei2, Shabnam Farrar3, Michael A. Brown4 and Xi Ma1,5

1 State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China

2 School of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA

3 College of Dental Medicine, Midwestern University, Downers Grove IL, USA

4 Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

5 Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Center for Autophagy Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Correspondence to:

Xi Ma, email:

Keywords: grape seed proanthocyanidins, antibiotic alternative, bacterial composition and distribution, intestinal mucosal barrier, oxidative stress, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: September 18, 2016 Accepted: November 15, 2016 Published: November 18, 2016


Proanthocyanidins have been suggested as an effective antibiotic alternative, however their mechanisms are still unknown. The present study investigated the effects of grape seed proanthocyanidins on gut microbiota and mucosal barrier using a weaned piglet model in comparison with colistin. Piglets weaned at 28 day were randomly assigned to four groups treated with a control ration, or supplemented with 250 mg/kg proanthocyanidins, kitasamycin/colistin, or 250 mg/kg proanthocyanidins and half-dose antibiotics, respectively. On day 28, the gut chyme and tissue samples were collected to test intestinal microbiota and barrier function, respectively. Proanthocyanidins treated piglets had better growth performance and reduced diarrhea incidence (P < 0.05), accompanied with decreased intestinal permeability and improved mucosal morphology. Gene sequencing analysis of 16S rRNA revealed that dietary proanthocyanidins improved the microbial diversity in ileal and colonic digesta, and the most abundant OTUs belong to Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes spp.. Proanthocyanidins treatment decreased the abundance of Lactobacillaceae, and increased the abundance of Clostridiaceae in both ileal and colonic lumen, which suggests that proanthocyanidins treatment changed the bacterial composition and distribution. Administration of proanthocyanidins increased the concentration of propionic acid and butyric acid in the ileum and colon, which may activate the expression of GPR41. In addition, dietary proanthocyanidins improved the antioxidant indices in serum and intestinal mucosa, accompanied with increasing expression of barrier occludin. Our findings indicated that proanthocyanidins with half-dose colistin was equivalent to the antibiotic treatment and assisted weaned animals in resisting intestinal oxidative stress by increasing diversity and improving balance of gut microbes.

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