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Effect of saponin on the transmucosal passage of β-lactoglobulin across the proximal small intestine of normal and β-lactoglobulin-sensitised rats

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Author: Gee, J.M. · Wal, J.M. · Miller, K. · Atkinson, H. · Grigoriadou, F. · Wijnands, M.V.W. · Penninks, A.H. · Wortley, G. · Johnson, I.T.
Institution: TNO Voeding Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Toxicology, 2-3, 117, 219-228
Identifier: 233820
doi: doi:10.1016/S0300-483X(96)03574-3
Keywords: Nutrition · Allergy · Intestine · Saponin · Sensitisation · Beta lactoglobulin · Saponin · Animal experiment · Animal tissue · Controlled study · Intestine mucosa permeability · Nonhuman · Small intestine · Animals · Chymases · Histamine · Intestinal Mucosa · Jejunum · Lactoglobulins · Male · Milk Proteins · Permeability · Rats · Saponins · Serine Endopeptidases · Animalia · Gypsophila · Mammalia · Rattus norvegicus


The ability of saponins and glycoalkaloids to permeabilise the mammalian intestinal barrier has been previously demonstrated in vitro, leading to the hypothesis that membranolytic saponins may facilitate transfer to the tissues of otherwise excluded macromolecules. An enhanced uptake of, for instance, potentially allergenic species from the lumen is one of the factors that may affect the induction of food allergy, and its presentation in already sensitised individuals. In the experiments described here, an increase in the transmucosal uptake of the milk allergen β-lactoglobulin (βLG) was assessed in non-sensitised and sensitised Brown Norway rats in the presence of Gypsophila saponin. Isolated jejunal loops were exposed in vivo to either βLG followed by saponin, saponin followed by βLG or the two compounds simultaneously. Portal vein blood samples were collected and assayed for βLG and rat mucosal mast cell protease (RCMP II) activity. Mucosal tissue was also examined histologically and assayed for histamine content. Sham-operated animals, exposed to physiological buffer alone, were included as controls and βLG measurements corrected for this component which was negligible. No transfer of βLG occurred in the absence of saponin in non-sensitised rats, whereas a significant enhancement was observed in the presence of saponin. βLG was detected in the portal circulation of sensitised rats exposed to βLG alone; however addition of saponin to the intestinal lumen further enhanced this uptake, possibly by an independent mechanism. Histological examination of the mucosal epithelium exposed to saponin revealed damage, especially at the villus tips. Mucosal histamine and serum (RCMP II concentrations were consistent with the differences observed between sensitised and non-sensitised animals. It is concluded that exposure to food constituents capable of permeabilising the mucosal epithelium may increase the risk of sensitisation to dietary antigens. Chemicals/CAS: chymase 2, EC 3.4.21.-; Chymases, EC; Histamine, 51-45-6; Lactoglobulins; Milk Proteins; Saponins; Serine Endopeptidases, EC 3.4.21.-