British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Physiological effects of dietary fructans extracted from Agave tequilana Gto. and Dasylirion spp.

Judith E. Urías-Silvasa1, Patrice D. Cania2, Evelyne Delméea2, Audrey Neyrincka2, Mercedes G. Lópeza1 c1 and Nathalie M. Delzennea2 c1

a1 Unidad de Biotecnología e Ingeniería Genética de Plantas, CINVESTAV-IPN Unidad Irapuato, A.P. 629, Irapuato, Gto., 36500, México

a2 Unit of Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism, Nutrition and Toxicology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium


Recent data reported that inulin-type fructans extracted from chicory roots regulate appetite and lipid/glucose metabolism, namely, by promoting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) production in the colon. The Agave genus growing in different regions of Mexico also contains important amounts of original fructans, with interesting nutritional and technological properties, but only few data report their physiological effect when added in the diet. Therefore, we decided to evaluate in parallel the effect of supplementation with 10 % agave or chicory fructans on glucose and lipid metabolism in mice. Male C57Bl/6J mice were fed a standard (STD) diet or diet supplemented with Raftilose P95 (RAF), fructans from Agave tequilana Gto. (TEQ) or fructans from Dasylirion spp. (DAS) for 5 weeks. The body weight gain and food intake in mice fed fructans-containing diets were significantly lower than the ones of mice fed the STD diet, TEQ leading to the lowest value. Serum glucose and cholesterol were similarly lower in all fructans-fed groups than in the STD group and correlated to body weight gain. Only RAF led to a significant decrease in serum TAG. As previously shown for RAF, the supplementation with agave fructans (TEQ and DAS) induced a higher concentration of GLP-1 and its precursor, proglucagon mRNA, in the different colonic segments, thus suggesting that fermentable fructans from different botanical origin and chemical structure are able to promote the production of satietogenic/incretin peptides in the lower part of the gut, with promising effects on glucose metabolism, body weight and fat mass development.

(Received February 02 2007)

(Revised June 19 2007)

(Accepted June 20 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Mercedes G. López, fax 52-462-624-5997, email and Nathalie M. Delzenne, fax 003227647359, email


Abbreviations: DAS, Dasylirion spp.; DP, degree of polymerisation; GLP, glucagon-like peptide; RAF, Raftilose; STD, standard; TEQ, Agave tequilana Gto