Special Issue "Dietary Modulation of the Immune Function: Direct and Microbiota Dependent Effects"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutritional Immunology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Francisco J. Pérez-Cano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Section of Physiology, Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
2. Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute (INSA), 08921 Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Spain
Interests: immunonutrition; flavonoids; microbiota; oligosaccharides; probiotics; breast milk
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Diet is critical in maintaining optimal immune function. Extensive research has demonstrated the immunomodulatory properties of particular nutrients. In this regard, some dietary components are able to modulate the immune response by interacting directly with the mucosal and systemic immune cells, activating receptors (e.g., vitamins) or changing membrane properties or modulating gene expression (e.g., fatty acids). However, some nutrients may influence immune function indirectly, after being metabolized by the microbiota, either  by generating new active components (e.g., polyphenol metabolites, short-chain fatty acids derived from fibre) or just by shaping microbiotal composition and functionality (e.g., probiotics and prebiotics), which in turn, will affect the immune response.

We invite authors to submit review articles and original research describing effects and mechanisms underlying the relationship between nutrition, microbiota and immunity. We are interested in articles describing these actions not only in humans but also in animal models, either in health or during pathological processes (e.g. infection, inflammation, autoimmunity), in which the nutrients or their metabolites may act by modulating the immune response.

Dr. Francisco J. Pérez-Cano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • microbiota
  • probiotics
  • prebiotics
  • antioxidants
  • vitamins
  • polyphenols
  • flavonoids
  • PUFAs
  • fiber

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4035, Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-4034 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036 Modulate Macrophage Gene Expression and Ameliorate Damage Markers in the Liver of Zucker-Leprfa/fa Rats
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 202; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13010202 - 11 Jan 2021
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Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has reached pandemic proportions worldwide. We have previously reported that the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4035, Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-4034 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036 exert anti-inflammatory effects in the intestine of Zucker-Leprfa/fa rats. In this [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has reached pandemic proportions worldwide. We have previously reported that the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4035, Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-4034 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036 exert anti-inflammatory effects in the intestine of Zucker-Leprfa/fa rats. In this work, we focused on their hepatic effects. M1 macrophages are related to inflammation and NAFLD pathogenesis, whereas M2 macrophages release anti-inflammatory mediators. We evaluated the effects of these 3 strains on macrophage polarization, inflammation and liver damage of Zucker-Leprfa/fa rats. The animals received either a placebo or 1010 CFU of probiotics orally for 30 days. Nos2 and Cd86 mRNA levels were determined as markers of M1 macrophages, and Cd163 and Arg1 as M2 markers, respectively, by qRT-PCR. Liver damage was determined by lipid peroxidation, leukocyte infiltration and myeloperoxidase activity. We evaluated a panoply of circulating chemokines, the hepatic ratio P-Akt/Akt, NF-kB and P-NF-kB protein levels. All 3 probiotic strains modulated macrophage polarization in liver and circulating levels of inflammation-related mediators. L. paracasei CNCM I-4034 increased the ratio P-Akt/Akt and NF-kB protein levels. B. breve CNCM I-4035, L. paracasei CNCM I-4034 and L. rhamnosus CNCM I-4036 decreased both pro-inflammatory macrophage gene expression and leukocyte infiltration in the liver. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Breast Milk Immunoglobulinome
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 1810; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13061810 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1398
Abstract
Breast milk components contribute to the infant’s immune development and protection, and among other immune factors, immunoglobulins (Igs) are the most studied. The presence of IgA in milk has been known for a long time; however, less information is available about the presence [...] Read more.
Breast milk components contribute to the infant’s immune development and protection, and among other immune factors, immunoglobulins (Igs) are the most studied. The presence of IgA in milk has been known for a long time; however, less information is available about the presence of other Igs such as IgM, IgG, and their subtypes (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4) or even IgE or IgD. The total Ig concentration and profile will change during the course of lactation; however, there is a great variability among studies due to several variables that limit establishing a clear pattern. In this context, the aim of this review was firstly to shed light on the Ig concentration in breast milk based on scientific evidence and secondly to study the main factors contributing to such variability. A search strategy provided only 75 studies with the prespecified eligibility criteria. The concentrations and proportions found have been established based on the intrinsic factors of the study—such as the sampling time and quantification technique—as well as participant-dependent factors, such as lifestyle and environment. All these factors contribute to the variability of the immunoglobulinome described in the literature and should be carefully addressed for further well-designed studies and data interpretation. Full article
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Review
The Immunomodulatory Properties of β-2,6 Fructans: A Comprehensive Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1309; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13041309 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1260
Abstract
Polysaccharides such as β-2,1-linked fructans including inulin or fructose oligosaccharides are well-known prebiotics with recognised immunomodulatory properties. In recent years, other fructan types covering β-2,6-linked fructans, particularly microbial levans, have gained increasing interest in the field. β-2,6-linked fructans of different degrees of polymerisation [...] Read more.
Polysaccharides such as β-2,1-linked fructans including inulin or fructose oligosaccharides are well-known prebiotics with recognised immunomodulatory properties. In recent years, other fructan types covering β-2,6-linked fructans, particularly microbial levans, have gained increasing interest in the field. β-2,6-linked fructans of different degrees of polymerisation can be synthesised by plants or microbes including those that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. Accumulating evidence suggests a role for these β-2,6 fructans in modulating immune function. Here, we provide an overview of the sources and structures of β-2,6 fructans from plants and microbes and describe their ability to modulate immune function in vitro and in vivo along with the suggested mechanisms underpinning their immunomodulatory properties. Further, we discuss the limitations and perspectives pertinent to current studies and the potential applications of β-2,6 fructans including in gut health. Full article
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Review
Does Flavonoid Consumption Improve Exercise Performance? Is It Related to Changes in the Immune System and Inflammatory Biomarkers? A Systematic Review of Clinical Studies since 2005
Nutrients 2021, 13(4), 1132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13041132 - 30 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Flavonoids are attracting increasing attention due to their antioxidant, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory properties. Nevertheless, little is known about their role in exercise performance in association with immune function. This systematic review firstly aimed to shed light on the ergogenic potential of flavonoids. A [...] Read more.
Flavonoids are attracting increasing attention due to their antioxidant, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory properties. Nevertheless, little is known about their role in exercise performance in association with immune function. This systematic review firstly aimed to shed light on the ergogenic potential of flavonoids. A search strategy was run using SCOPUS database. The returned studies were screened by prespecified eligibility criteria, including intervention lasting at least one week and performance objectively quantified, among others. Fifty-one studies (54 articles) met the inclusion criteria, involving 1288 human subjects, either physically untrained or trained. Secondly, we aimed to associate these studies with the immune system status. Seventeen of the selected studies (18 articles) assessed changes in the immune system. The overall percentage of studies reporting an improved exercise performance following flavonoid supplementation was 37%, the proportion being 25% when considering quercetin, 28% for flavanol-enriched extracts, and 54% for anthocyanins-enriched extracts. From the studies reporting an enhanced performance, only two, using anthocyanin supplements, focused on the immune system and found certain anti-inflammatory effects of these flavonoids. These results suggest that flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, may exert beneficial effects for athletes’ performances, although further studies are encouraged to establish the optimal dosage and to clarify their impact on immune status. Full article
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Review
Impact of Dietary Flavanols on Microbiota, Immunity and Inflammation in Metabolic Diseases
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 850; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13030850 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1260
Abstract
Flavanols are natural occurring polyphenols abundant in fruits and vegetables to which have been attributed to beneficial effects on health, and also against metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. These positive properties have been associated to the modulation of different [...] Read more.
Flavanols are natural occurring polyphenols abundant in fruits and vegetables to which have been attributed to beneficial effects on health, and also against metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. These positive properties have been associated to the modulation of different molecular pathways, and importantly, to the regulation of immunological reactions (pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, nuclear factor-κB [NF-κB], inducible enzymes), and the activity of cells of the immune system. In addition, flavanols can modulate the composition and function of gut microbiome in a prebiotic-like manner, resulting in the positive regulation of metabolic pathways and immune responses, and reduction of low-grade chronic inflammation. Moreover, the biotransformation of flavanols by gut bacteria increases their bioavailability generating a number of metabolites with potential to affect human metabolism, including during metabolic diseases. However, the exact mechanisms by which flavanols act on the microbiota and immune system to influence health and disease remain unclear, especially in humans where these connections have been scarcely explored. This review seeks to summarize recent advances on the complex interaction of flavanols with gut microbiota, immunity and inflammation focus on metabolic diseases. Full article
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Review
The Gut‒Breast Axis: Programming Health for Life
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 606; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13020606 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1279
Abstract
The gut is a pivotal organ in health and disease. The events that take place in the gut during early life contribute to the programming, shaping and tuning of distant organs, having lifelong consequences. In this context, the maternal gut plays a quintessence [...] Read more.
The gut is a pivotal organ in health and disease. The events that take place in the gut during early life contribute to the programming, shaping and tuning of distant organs, having lifelong consequences. In this context, the maternal gut plays a quintessence in programming the mammary gland to face the nutritional, microbiological, immunological, and neuroendocrine requirements of the growing infant. Subsequently, human colostrum and milk provides the infant with an impressive array of nutrients and bioactive components, including microbes, immune cells, and stem cells. Therefore, the axis linking the maternal gut, the breast, and the infant gut seems crucial for a correct infant growth and development. The aim of this article is not to perform a systematic review of the human milk components but to provide an insight of their extremely complex interactions, which render human milk a unique functional food and explain why this biological fluid still truly remains as a scientific enigma. Full article
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Review
Gut-Brain-Microbiota Axis: Antibiotics and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 389; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu13020389 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
Gut microbiota composition and function are major areas of research for functional gastrointestinal disorders. There is a connection between gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system and this is mediated by neurotransmitters, inflammatory cytokines, the vagus nerve and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Functional gastrointestinal disorders [...] Read more.
Gut microbiota composition and function are major areas of research for functional gastrointestinal disorders. There is a connection between gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system and this is mediated by neurotransmitters, inflammatory cytokines, the vagus nerve and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Functional gastrointestinal disorders are prevalent diseases affecting more than one third of the population. The etiology of these disorders is not clarified. Visceral hyperalgesia is the main hypothesis for explaining clinical symptoms, however gut-brain axis disorder is a new terminology for functional disorders. In this review, microbiota-gut-brain axis connection pathways and related disorders are discussed. Antibiotics are widely used in developed countries and recent evidence indicates antibiotic-induced dysbiosis as an important factor for functional disorders. Antibiotics exert negative effects on gut microbiota composition and functions. Antibiotic-induced dysbiosis is a major factor for occurrence of post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. Cognitive and mood disorders are also frequent in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Animal and human trials show strong evidence for the causal relationship between gut microbiota and brain functions. Therapeutic implications of these newly defined pathogenic pathways are also discussed. Full article
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