Background: Probiotic bacteria have been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, a leading cause of death and disability.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the impact of dietary administration of exopolysaccharide-producing probiotic Lactobacillus cultures on lipid metabolism and gut microbiota in apolipoprotein E (apoE)-deficient mice.
Methods: First, we examined lipid metabolism in response to dietary supplementation with recombinant beta-glucan-producing Lactobacillus paracasei National Food Biotechnology Centre (NFBC) 338 expressing the gycosyltransferase (Gtf) gene from Pediococcus parvulus 2.6 (GTF), and naturally exopolysaccharide-producing Lactobacillus mucosae Dairy Product Culture Collection (DPC) 6426 (DPC 6426) compared with the non-beta-glucan-producing isogenic control strain Lactobacillus paracasei NFBC 338 (PNZ) and placebo (15% wt: vol trehalose). Second, we examined the effects on the gut microbiota of dietary administration of DPC 6426 compared with placebo. Probiotic Lactobacillus strains at 1 x 10(9) colony-forming units/d per animal were administered to apoE(-/-) mice fed a high-fat (60% fat)/high-cholesterol (2% wt:wt) diet for 12 wk. At the end of the study, aortic plaque development and serum, liver, and fecal variables involved in lipid metabolism were analyzed, and culture-independent microbial analyses of cecal content were performed.
Results: Total cholesterol was reduced in serum (P < 0.001; similar to 33-50%) and liver (P < 0.05; similar to 30%) and serum triglyceride concentrations were reduced (P < 0.05; similar to 15-25%) in mice supplemented with GTF or DPC 6426 compared with the PNZ or placebo group, respectively. In addition, dietary intervention with GTF led to increased amounts of fecal cholesterol excretion (P < 0.051 compared with all other groups. Compositional sequencing of the gut microbiota revealed a greater prevalence of Porphyromonadaceae (P = 0.001) and Preyotellaceae (P = 0.0011 in the DPC 6426 group and lower proportions of Clostridiaceae (P < 0.05), Peptococcaceae (P < 0.001), and Staphylococcaceae (P < 0.01) compared with the placebo group.
Conclusion: Ingestion of exopolysaccharide-producing lactobacilli resulted in seemingly favorable improvements in lipid metabolism, which were associated with changes in the gut microbiota of mice.