Impact of potato protein supplementation with dietary fermentable materials on immune measures in Sprague-Dawley rats
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Bacteria may influence the immune system by fermenting dietary fermentable materials (DFM) that resist digestion and reach the colon intact. This study investigated how resistant protein supplementation could affect the immune systems of female and male Sprague-Dawley rats. Gnaw sticks are a common environmental enrichment tool included here to determine whether they could confound experimental results. Potato protein (PP) increased both total short and branched chain fatty acids (SCFA, BCFA) concentrations. The effects of dietary protein were influenced by combination with dietary starch. The PP supplementation had different effects on some innate and adaptive immune measures between sexes. Diet and sex influenced cytokine concentrations, populations of immune cells, and production of antibodies. Gnaw sticks had opposing effects on sexes in both fermentation and cytokine profiles, and thus they can interfere with data interpretation. Dietary supplementation with resistant protein can increase microbial fermentation and influence the immune system differently between sexes.