Because gut microbiota has recently attracted much attention as an environmental factor involved in the development of obesity, probiotics may be useful in preventing and/or improving obesity and its related disorders. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum strain No. 14 (LP14), a bacterial strain reported to decrease body fat percentage in healthy volunteers, on adipocyte size in mice. Female C57BL/6 mice were fed either normal- or high-fat diet and administered intragastrically with LP14 (1 x 10(8) colony-forming units/mouse) or vehicle daily for 11 weeks. High dietary fat intake increased body weight gain, white adipose tissue weight, mean adipocyte size and serum total cholesterol and leptin concentrations, and decreased serum adiponectin concentration. In mice fed the high-fat diet, LP14 administration significantly reduced the mean adipocyte size and tended to reduce the white adipose tissue weight and serum total cholesterol and leptin concentrations as compared with the vehicle-administered mice. All mice had undetectable serum levels of conjugated linoleic acids that reportedly exert antiobesity action. In a separate experiment, LP14 ingestion had no influence on serum triacylglycerol accumulation following olive oil administration in Triton WR1339-treated mice, suggesting that dietary fat absorption is unaffected by LP14. In conclusion, we propose that LP14 may exert a beneficial effect on the onset of diet-induced obesity by reducing the cell size of white adipose tissues, and it seems unlikely that previously reported mechanisms for other bacterial strains are involved in the action of LP14.