A fictitious domain method is used to perform fully resolved numerical simulations of particle-laden turbulent flow in a horizontal channel. The effects of large particles of diameter 0.05 and 0.1 times the channel height on the turbulence statistics and structures are investigated for different settling coefficients and volume fractions (0.79 %–7.08 %) for the channel Reynolds number being 5000. The results indicate the following. (a) When the particle sedimentation effect is negligible (i.e. neutrally buoyant), the presence of particles decreases the maximum r.m.s. of streamwise velocity fluctuation near the wall by weakening the intensity of the large-scale streamwise vortices, while increasing the r.m.s. of the streamwise fluctuating velocity in the region very close to the wall and in the centre region. On the other hand, the particles increase the r.m.s. of transverse and spanwise fluctuating velocities in the near-wall region by inducing the small-scale vortices. (b) When the particle settling effect is so substantial that most particles settle onto the bottom wall and form a particle sediment layer (SL), the SL plays the role of a rough wall and parts of the vortex structures shedding from the SL ascend into the core region and substantially increase the turbulence intensity there. (c) When the particle settling effect is moderate, the effects of particles on the turbulence are a combination of the former two situations, and the Shields number is a good parameter for measuring the particle settling effects (i.e. the particle concentration distribution in the transverse direction). The average velocities of the particle are smaller in the lower half-channel and larger in the upper half-channel compared to the local fluid velocities in the presence of gravity effects. The effects of the smaller particles on the turbulence are found to be stronger at the same particle volume fractions.