The dietary effect of the water-soluble dietary fibers (WSDF), guar gum, partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), glucomannan, highly methoxylated (HM) pectin, on the serum lipid level and immunoglobulin (Ig) production of Sprague-Dawley rats was compared with that of water-insoluble cellulose. Although serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were significantly lower in the rats fed with WSDF than in those fed with cellulose, a decrease in the level of phospholipids was only observed in the rats that had been fed on guar gum or glucomannan. In addition, all WSDF feeding enhanced IgA productivity in the spleen and mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes, although the increase in serum IgA level was only observed in the rats fed on WSDF, and not on PHGG. When mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes were cultured in the presence of various concentrations of guar gum or glucomannan, no significant increase in Ig production was apparent. These data suggest that WSDF indirectly enhanced the Ig production of lymphocytes, and that serum lipid reduction and IgA production-enhancing activities of WSDF were dependent on their molecular sizes.
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