JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of two Lactobacillus strains on lipid metabolism and intestinal microflora in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet

Ning Xie, Yi Cui, Ya-Ni Yin, Xin Zhao, Jun-Wen Yang, Zheng-Gen Wang, Nian Fu, Yong Tang, Xue-Hong Wang, Xiao-Wei Liu, Chun-Lian Wang, Fang-Gen Lu
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11: 53
21722398

BACKGROUND: The hypocholesterolemic effects of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have now become an area of great interest and controversy for many scientists. In this study, we evaluated the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum 9-41-A and Lactobacillus fermentum M1-16 on body weight, lipid metabolism and intestinal microflora of rats fed a high-cholesterol diet.

METHODS: Forty rats were assigned to four groups and fed either a normal or a high-cholesterol diet. The LAB-treated groups received the high-cholesterol diet supplemented with Lactobacillus plantarum 9-41-A or Lactobacillus fermentum M1-16. The rats were sacrificed after a 6-week feeding period. Body weights, visceral organ and fat pad weights, serum and liver cholesterol and lipid levels, and fecal cholesterol and bile acid concentrations were measured. Liver lipid deposition and adipocyte size were evaluated histologically.

RESULTS: Compared with rats fed a high-cholesterol diet but without LAB supplementation, serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides levels were significantly decreased in LAB-treated rats (p < 0.05), with no significant change in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Hepatic cholesterol and triglyceride levels and liver lipid deposition were significantly decreased in the LAB-treated groups (p < 0.05). Accordingly, both fecal cholesterol and bile acids levels were significantly increased after LAB administration (p < 0.05). Intestinal Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium colonies were increased while Escherichia coli colonies were decreased in the LAB-treated groups. Fecal water content was higher in the LAB-treated groups. Compared with rats fed a high-cholesterol diet, administration of Lactobacillus plantarum 9-41-A resulted in decreases in the body weight gain, liver and fat pad weight, and adipocytes size (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that LAB supplementation has hypocholesterolemic effects in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. The ability to lower serum cholesterol varies among LAB strains. Our strains might be able to improve the intestinal microbial balance and potentially improve intestinal transit time. Although the mechanism is largely unknown, L. plantarum 9-41-A may play a role in fat metabolism.

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