Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) strains have been suggested to be associated with acute and persistent diarrheal disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, although further epidemiological studies are needed for clarification. Here, a pilot study was performed to examine the effect of the oral administration of yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain on the cell numbers of fecal ETBF in a healthy population. Among 420 healthy adults, 38 subjects were found to be ETBF carriers, giving a prevalence of approximately 9%. Among them, 32 subjects were enrolled in an open, randomized, parallel-group study to ingest yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium longum BB536 (BB536Y group), for 8 weeks, with milk provided to the control group (milk group). The cell numbers of ETBF and the dominant species of the B. fragilis group were measured by a quantitative PCR method. Compared with the baseline values, there was a significant decrease in the cell number of ETBF at week 8 in the BB536Y group but not in the milk group. Linear mixed models analysis for longitudinal data revealed a significant difference in the changes of ETBF cell number between the two groups during the intervention phase. These results imply the potential of probiotic yogurt for eliminating ETBF in the microbiota, but its clinical significance needs to be evaluated in the future. This is the first report of a possible effect of probiotic intake on ETBF in the microbiota.
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