Lactobacillus reuteri prevents diet-induced obesity, but not atherosclerosis, in a strain dependent fashion in Apoe-/- mice

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046837. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


Objective: To investigate whether the specific strains of Lactobacillus reuteri modulates the metabolic syndrome in Apoe-/- mice.

Methods: 8 week-old Apoe-/- mice were subdivided into four groups who received either L. reuteri ATCC PTA 4659 (ATCC), DSM 17938 (DSM), L6798, or no bacterial supplement in the drinking water for 12 weeks. The mice were fed a high-fat Western diet with 0.2% cholesterol and body weights were monitored weekly. At the end of the study, oral glucose and insulin tolerance tests were conducted. In addition, adipose and liver weights were recorded along with analyses of mRNA expression of ileal Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4), the macrophage marker F4/80 encoded by the gene Emr1 and liver Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (Acc1), Fatty acid synthase (Fas) and Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a (Cpt1a). Atherosclerosis was assessed in the aortic root region of the heart.

Results and conclusions: Mice receiving L. reuteri ATCC gained significantly less body weight than the control mice, whereas the L6798 mice gained significantly more. Adipose and liver weights were also reduced in the ATCC group. Serum insulin levels were lower in the ATCC group, but no significant effects were observed in the glucose or insulin tolerance tests. Lipogenic genes in the liver were not altered by any of the bacterial treatments, however, increased expression of Cpt1a was found in the ATCC group, indicating increased β-oxidation. Correspondingly, the liver trended towards having lower fat content. There were no effects on inflammatory markers, blood cholesterol or atherosclerosis. In conclusion, the probiotic L. reuteri strain ATCC PTA 4659 partly prevented diet-induced obesity, possibly via a previously unknown mechanism of inducing liver expression of Cpt1a.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / deficiency*
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / microbiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / microbiology
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lactobacillus reuteri / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Phenotype
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Species Specificity


  • Apolipoproteins E

Grant support

This work was supported by Biogaia AB. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The final version of the manuscript was approved by Biogaia AB.