Special Issue "Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Seiichiro Aoe
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Science, Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo, Japan
Interests: dietary fiber; whole-grain cereals; metabolic syndrome-related markers; colonic fermentation; microbiota; β-glucan; arabinoxylan
Prof. Dr. Tatsuya Morita
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Life Sciences, Shizuoka University, Japan
Prof. Dr. Naohito Ohno
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Guest Editor
School of Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science School of Pharmacy, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan
Interests: medicinal mushrooms; deep seated Mycosis (Candidiasis, Aspergillosis); structure function; relationship of beta-glucan; innate immunity; anti-beta-glucan antibody

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on “β-Glucan in Food and Health Benefits” deals with the health benefits of indigestible carbohydrates with respect to metabolic diseases and immune functions. The effects of β-glucan are usually investigated in isolated preparations as supplements, or as a natural dietary fiber included in whole-grain cereals and brans, yeasts, mushrooms, seaweeds, and so on. The issue addresses both physiological effects linked to mechanisms related to colonic fermentation of β-glucan, involving the effects of colonic fermentation-derived metabolites on metabolic diseases and immune functions.  

This Special Issue welcomes original research articles based on human intervention studies, addressing the effects of β-glucan on metabolic diseases and immune functions related markers, as well as in vitro and in vivo studies. It also welcomes reviews of the health benefits of β-glucan in humans.

Prof. Seiichiro Aoe
Prof. Tatsuya Morita
Prof. Naohito Ohno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • β-glucan
  • whole-grain cereals barley
  • oat
  • yeast
  • mushroom
  • seaweed
  • colonic fermentation
  • metabolic diseases
  • immune function

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
High β-Glucan Barley Supplementation Improves Glucose Tolerance by Increasing GLP-1 Secretion in Diet-Induced Obesity Mice
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020527 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 483
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying mechanism for the improvement of glucose tolerance following intake of high β-glucan barley (HGB) in terms of intestinal metabolism. C57BL/6J male mice were fed a fatty diet supplemented with HGB corresponding to 5% [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying mechanism for the improvement of glucose tolerance following intake of high β-glucan barley (HGB) in terms of intestinal metabolism. C57BL/6J male mice were fed a fatty diet supplemented with HGB corresponding to 5% of dietary fiber for 83 days. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed at the end of the experimental period. The concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the cecum was analyzed by GC–MS (gas chromatography–mass spectrometry). The mRNA expression levels related to L cell function in the ileum were measured by real-time PCR. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) levels in the portal vein and cecal content were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. GLP-1-producing L cells of the ileum were quantified by immunohistochemistry. HGB intake improved glucose tolerance and increased the cecal levels of SCFAs, acetate, and propionate. The number of GLP-1-positive L cells in the HGB group was significantly higher than in the control group. GLP-1 levels in the portal vein and cecal GLP-1 pool size in the HGB group were significantly higher than the control group. In conclusion, we report improved glucose tolerance after HGB intake induced by an increase in L cell number and subsequent rise in GLP-1 secretion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Dietary Oat Beta-Glucans on Colon Apoptosis and Autophagy through TLRs and Dectin-1 Signaling Pathways—Crohn’s Disease Model Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020321 - 22 Jan 2021
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Abstract
Background: Crohn’s disease (CD) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract with alternating periods of exacerbation and remission. The aim of this study was to determine the time-dependent effects of dietary oat beta-glucans on colon apoptosis and autophagy in the CD [...] Read more.
Background: Crohn’s disease (CD) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract with alternating periods of exacerbation and remission. The aim of this study was to determine the time-dependent effects of dietary oat beta-glucans on colon apoptosis and autophagy in the CD rat model. Methods: A total of 150 Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into two main groups: healthy control (H) and a TNBS (2,4,6-trinitrobenzosulfonic acid)-induced colitis (C) group, both including subgroups fed with feed without beta-glucans (βG−) or feed supplemented with low- (βGl) or high-molar-mass oat beta-glucans (βGh) for 3, 7, or 21 days. The expression of autophagy (LC3B) and apoptosis (Caspase-3) markers, as well as Toll-like (TLRs) and Dectin-1 receptors, in the colon epithelial cells, was determined using immunohistochemistry and Western blot. Results: The results showed that in rats with colitis, after 3 days of induction of inflammation, the expression of Caspase-3 and LC3B in intestinal epithelial cells did not change, while that of TLR 4 and Dectin-1 decreased. Beta-glucan supplementation caused an increase in the expression of TLR 5 and Dectin-1 with no changes in the expression of Caspase-3 and LC3B. After 7 days, a high expression of Caspase-3 was observed in the colitis-induced animals without any changes in the expression of LC3B and TLRs, and simultaneously, a decrease in Dectin-1 expression was observed. The consumption of feed with βGl or βGh resulted in a decrease in Caspase-3 expression and an increase in TLR 5 expression in the CβGl group, with no change in the expression of LC3B and TLR 4. After 21 days, the expression of Caspase-3 and TLRs was not changed by colitis, while that of LC3B and Dectin-1 was decreased. Feed supplementation with βGh resulted in an increase in the expression of both Caspase-3 and LC3B, while the consumption of feed with βGh and βGl increased Dectin-1 expression. However, regardless of the type of nutritional intervention, the expression of TLRs did not change after 21 days. Conclusions: Dietary intake of βGl and βGh significantly reduced colitis by time-dependent modification of autophagy and apoptosis, with βGI exhibiting a stronger effect on apoptosis and βGh on autophagy. The mechanism of this action may be based on the activation of TLRs and Dectin-1 receptor and depends on the period of exacerbation or remission of CD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Low Molecular Weight Barley β-Glucan Affects Glucose and Lipid Metabolism by Prebiotic Effects
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010130 - 31 Dec 2020
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Abstract
We investigated the effect of low molecular weight barley β-glucan (LMW-BG) on cecal fermentation, glucose, and lipid metabolism through comparisons to high molecular weight β-glucan (HMW-BG). C57BL/6J male mice were fed a moderate-fat diet for 61 days. LMW-BG or HMW-BG was added to [...] Read more.
We investigated the effect of low molecular weight barley β-glucan (LMW-BG) on cecal fermentation, glucose, and lipid metabolism through comparisons to high molecular weight β-glucan (HMW-BG). C57BL/6J male mice were fed a moderate-fat diet for 61 days. LMW-BG or HMW-BG was added to the diet corresponding to 4% β-glucan. We measured the apparent absorption of fat, serum biomarkers, the expression levels of genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism in the liver and ileum, and bacterial counts of the major microbiota groups using real time PCR. The concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the cecum was analyzed by GC/MS. Significant reductions in serum leptin, total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and mRNA expression levels of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) were observed in both BG groups. HMW-BG specific effects were observed in inhibiting fat absorption and reducing abdominal deposit fat, whereas LMW-BG specific effects were observed in increasing bacterial counts of Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides and cecal total SCFAs, acetate, and propionate. mRNA expression of neurogenin 3 was increased in the LMW-BG group. We report that LMW-BG affects glucose and lipid metabolism via a prebiotic effect, whereas the high viscosity of HMW-BG in the digestive tract is responsible for its specific effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of β-glucan Rich Barley Flour on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in the Ileum, Liver, and Adipose Tissues of High-Fat Diet Induced-Obesity Model Male Mice Analyzed by DNA Microarray
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3546; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113546 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 586
Abstract
We evaluated whether intake of β-glucan-rich barley flour affects expression levels of genes related to glucose and lipid metabolism in the ileum, liver, and adipose tissues of mice fed a high-fat diet. C57BL/6J male mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with high [...] Read more.
We evaluated whether intake of β-glucan-rich barley flour affects expression levels of genes related to glucose and lipid metabolism in the ileum, liver, and adipose tissues of mice fed a high-fat diet. C57BL/6J male mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with high β-glucan barley, for 92 days. We measured the expression levels of genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism in the ileum, liver, and adipose tissues using DNA microarray and q-PCR. The concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the cecum was analyzed by GC/MS. The metabolic syndrome indices were improved by barley flour intake. Microarray analysis showed that the expression of genes related to steroid synthesis was consistently decreased in the liver and adipose tissues. The expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism did not change in these organs. In liver, a negative correlation was showed between some SCFAs and the expression levels of mRNA related to lipid synthesis and degradation. Barley flour affects lipid metabolism at the gene expression levels in both liver and adipose tissues. We suggest that SCFAs are associated with changes in the expression levels of genes related to lipid metabolism in the liver and adipose tissues, which affect lipid accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Euglena Gracilis and β-Glucan Paramylon Induce Ca2+ Signaling in Intestinal Tract Epithelial, Immune, and Neural Cells
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2293; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082293 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
The intestinal tract contains over half of all immune cells and peripheral nerves and manages the beneficial interactions between food compounds and the host. Paramylon is a β-1,3-glucan storage polysaccharide from Euglena gracilis (Euglena) that exerts immunostimulatory activities by affecting cytokine [...] Read more.
The intestinal tract contains over half of all immune cells and peripheral nerves and manages the beneficial interactions between food compounds and the host. Paramylon is a β-1,3-glucan storage polysaccharide from Euglena gracilis (Euglena) that exerts immunostimulatory activities by affecting cytokine production. This study investigated the signaling mechanisms that regulate the beneficial interactions between food compounds and the intestinal tract using cell type-specific calcium (Ca2+) imaging in vivo and in vitro. We successfully visualized Euglena- and paramylon-mediated Ca2+ signaling in vivo in intestinal epithelial cells from mice ubiquitously expressing the Yellow Cameleon 3.60 (YC3.60) Ca2+ biosensor. Moreover, in vivo Ca2+ imaging demonstrated that the intraperitoneal injection of both Euglena and paramylon stimulated dendritic cells (DCs) in Peyer’s patches, indicating that paramylon is an active component of Euglena that affects the immune system. In addition, in vitro Ca2+ imaging in dorsal root ganglia indicated that Euglena, but not paramylon, triggers Ca2+ signaling in the sensory nervous system innervating the intestine. Thus, this study is the first to successfully visualize the direct effect of β-1,3-glucan on DCs in vivo and will help elucidate the mechanisms via which Euglena and paramylon exert various effects in the intestinal tract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Varying Molecular Weight of Oat β-Glucan Taken just before Eating on Postprandial Glycemic Response in Healthy Humans
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2275; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082275 - 29 Jul 2020
Viewed by 811
Abstract
To see if the molecular weight (MW) and viscosity of oat β-glucan (OBG) when taken before eating determine its effect on postprandial glycemic responses (PPRG), healthy overnight-fasted subjects (n = 16) were studied on eight separate occasions. Subjects consumed 200 mL water [...] Read more.
To see if the molecular weight (MW) and viscosity of oat β-glucan (OBG) when taken before eating determine its effect on postprandial glycemic responses (PPRG), healthy overnight-fasted subjects (n = 16) were studied on eight separate occasions. Subjects consumed 200 mL water alone (Control) or with 4 g OBG varying in MW and viscosity followed, 2–3 min later, by 113 g white-bread. Blood was taken fasting and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min after starting to eat. None of the OBG treatments differed significantly from the Control for the a-priori primary endpoint of glucose peak-rise or secondary endpoint of incremental area-under-the-curve (iAUC) over 0–120 min. However, significant differences from the Control were seen for glucose iAUC over 0–45 min and time to peak (TTP) glucose. Lower log(MW) and log(viscosity) were associated with higher iAUC 0–45 (p < 0.001) and shorter TTP (p < 0.001). We conclude that when 4 g OBG is taken as a preload, reducing MW does not affect glucose peak rise or iAUC0-120, but rather accelerates the rise in blood glucose and reduces the time it takes glucose to reach the peak. However, this is based on post-hoc calculation of iAUC0-45 and TTP and needs to be confirmed in a subsequent study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Biological Activity of High-Purity β-1,3-1,6-Glucan Derived from the Black Yeast Aureobasidium pullulans: A Literature Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010242 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
The black yeast Aureobasidium pullulans produces abundant soluble β-1,3-1,6-glucan—a functional food ingredient with known health benefits. For use as a food material, soluble β-1,3-1,6-glucan is produced via fermentation using sucrose as the carbon source. Various functionalities of β-1,3-1,6-glucan have been reported, including its [...] Read more.
The black yeast Aureobasidium pullulans produces abundant soluble β-1,3-1,6-glucan—a functional food ingredient with known health benefits. For use as a food material, soluble β-1,3-1,6-glucan is produced via fermentation using sucrose as the carbon source. Various functionalities of β-1,3-1,6-glucan have been reported, including its immunomodulatory effect, particularly in the intestine. It also exhibits antitumor and antimetastatic effects, alleviates influenza and food allergies, and relieves stress. Moreover, it reduces the risk of lifestyle-related diseases by protecting the intestinal mucosa, reducing fat, lowering postprandial blood glucose, promoting bone health, and healing gastric ulcers. Furthermore, it induces heat shock protein 70. Clinical studies have reported the antiallergic and triglyceride-reducing effects of β-1,3-1,6-glucan, which are indicators of improvement in lifestyle-related diseases. The primary and higher-order structures of β-1,3-1,6-glucan have been elucidated. Specifically, it comprises a single highly-branched glucose residue with the β-1,6 bond (70% or more) on a backbone of glucose with 1,3-β bonds. β-Glucan shows a triple helical structure, and studies on its use as a drug delivery system have been actively conducted. β-Glucan in combination with anti-inflammatory substances or fullerenes can be used to target macrophages. Based on its health functionality, β-1,3-1,6-glucan is an interesting material as both food and medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Glucan in Foods and Health Benefits)
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