The effects of milk products fermented by Bifidobacterium longum strain BL1, a probiotic strain, on blood lipids in rats and humans were studied. Rats were fed a cholesterol-enriched experimental diet, supplemented with lyophilized powders of 1) acid milk (control), 2) milk fermented with a mixed culture of ordinary yogurt starters composed of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (SL), and 3) bifidobacterium milk fermented with the probiotic B. longum strain BL1, respectively. The bifidobacterium milk feeding brought about significant lowering of the serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, in comparison with the control, while no change in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration was observed. On the other hand, supplementation with SL milk resulted in only slight, nonsignificant decreases in serum lipid concentrations in comparison with the control. In the human study, 32 subjects with serum total cholesterol ranging from 220 to 280 mg/dl were randomly assigned to two treatments: 1) intake of a low-fat drinking yogurt prepared with ordinary yogurt starters composed of S. thermophilus and L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (P-group) and 2) intake of a low-fat drinking yogurt prepared with the two ordinary yogurt starters plus B. longum strain BL1 (B-group). After intake for 4 wk at 3 x 100 ml/day, reduction of serum total cholesterol was observed in approximately half of the B-group subjects; a particularly significant decrease in serum total cholesterol was found among subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia (serum total cholesterol > 240 mg/dl). However, the serum lipid concentrations in the P-group subjects were almost stable during the experimental periods. The present results indicate the potential of the probiotic B. longum strain BL1 in serum lipid improvement.