Combinations of cereal β-glucans and probiotics can enhance the anti-inflammatory activity on host cells by a synergistic effect

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The influence of oat and barley β-glucans on some features of diverse probiotic strains was investigated. Neither barley nor oat β-glucans supported the growth of any of the investigated strains when used as the sole carbon source in fermentation media. No protective effect by β-glucans was observed on bacterial survival to in vitro simulation of the human digestive tract. Moreover, the presence of β-glucans did not enhance the ability of probiotic bacteria to adhere on human intestinal cells. The immunomodulatory activities of probiotics, β-glucans, and their combinations were studied and compared in vitro by transcriptional analysis of immune-related genes on LPS-stimulated THP-1 macrophages. Immune modulating properties were evidenced. In particular, mixtures of probiotic microorganisms and barley β-glucans exhibited synergistic effects in modulating the transcriptional level of several immune-related genes, leading to an overall enhanced anti-inflammatory effect. Together, these findings suggest a promising application of probiotic bacteria and β-glucans in the preparation of dietary mixtures presenting health-promoting features such as immunomodulatory properties.


  • Mattia Pia Arena
  • Pasquale Russo
  • Vittorio Capozzi
  • Ana Rascón
  • Giovanna E. Felis
  • Giuseppe Spano
  • Daniela Fiocco
External organisations
  • University of Foggia
  • Promis Biotech srl
  • Aventure AB
  • University of Verona
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Beta Glucan (PubChem CID: 9202437), Immune system, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Relative gene expression, Synbiotics, β-glucan
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1
Publication categoryResearch