The aim of this study was to compare the impact of dietary supplementation with a Bifidobacterium breve strain together with linoleic acid & a-linolenic acid, for 7 weeks, on colonic sensitivity and fatty acid metabolism in rats. Maternally separated and non-maternally separated Sprague Dawley rats (n = 15) were orally gavaged with either B. breve DPC6330 (10(9) microorganisms/day) alone or in combination with 0.5% (w/w) linoleic acid & 0.5% (w/w) a-linolenic acid, daily for 7 weeks and compared with trehalose and bovine serum albumin. Tissue fatty acid composition was assessed by gas-liquid chromatography and visceral hypersensitivity was assessed by colorectal distension. Significant differences in the fatty acid profiles of the non-separated controls and maternally separated controls were observed for a-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid in the liver, oleic acid and eicosenoic acid (c11) in adipose tissue, and for palmitoleic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in serum (p<0.05). Administration of B. breve DPC6330 to MS rats significantly increased palmitoleic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in the liver, eicosenoic acid (c11) in adipose tissue and palmitoleic acid in the prefrontal cortex (p<0.05), whereas feeding B. breve DPC6330 to non separated rats significantly increased eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid in serum (p<0.05) compared with the NS un-supplemented controls. Administration of B. breve DPC6330 in combination with linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid to maternally separated rats significantly increased docosapentaenoic acid in the serum (p<0.01) and a-linolenic acid in adipose tissue (p<0.001), whereas feeding B. breve DPC6330 with fatty acid supplementation to non-separated rats significantly increased liver and serum docosapentaenoic acid (p<0.05), and a-linolenic acid in adipose tissue (p<0.001). B. breve DPC6330 influenced host fatty acid metabolism. Administration of B. breve DPC6330 to maternally separated rats significantly modified the palmitoleic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid contents in tissues. The effect was not observed in non-separated animals.