- BACKGROUND: Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that enhance the growth of certain microbes within the gut microbiota. Prebiotic consumption generates immune-modulatory effects that are traditionally thought to reflect microbial interactions within the gut. However, recent evidence suggests they may also impart direct microbe-independent effects on the host, though the mechanisms of which are currently unclear. METHODS: Kinome arrays were used to profile the host intestinal signaling responses to prebiotic exposures in the absence of microbes. Identified pathways were functionally validated in Caco-2Bbe1 intestinal cell line and in vivo model of murine endotoxemia. RESULTS: We found that prebiotics directly regulate host mucosal signaling to alter response to bacterial infection. Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) exposed to prebiotics are hyporesponsive to pathogen-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activations, and have a kinome profile distinct from non-treated cells pertaining to multiple innate immune signaling pathways. Consistent with this finding, mice orally gavaged with prebiotics showed dampened inflammatory response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) without alterations in the gut microbiota. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide molecular mechanisms of direct host-prebiotic interactions to support prebiotics as potent modulators of host inflammation.