Effects of probiotic administration on zebrafish development and reproduction

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013 Jul 1;188:297-302. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.02.022. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


As the consumption of probiotics increases worldwide, scientists focus on identifying bacterial strains able to improve human life quality and evidence the biological pathways affected by probiotic treatment. In this review, some recent observations on the effects of changes of microbiota on zebrafish metabolism were discussed. In addition, the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus - a component of the human gut microflora - as a diet supplement on Danio rerio were presented. When administered chronically, L. rhamnosus may affect larval development and the physiology of reproductive system in the zebrafish model. It was hypothesized exogenous L. rhamnosus accelerates larval growth and backbone development by acting on insulin-like growth factors-I (igfI) and -II (igfII), peroxisome proliferator activated receptors-α and -β, (pparα,β) vitamin D receptor-α (vdrα) and retinoic acid receptor-γ (rarγ). Gonadal differentiation was anticipated at 6weeks together with a higher expression of gnrh3 at the larval stage when L. rhamnosus was administered throughout development. Moreover, brood stock alimented with a L. rhamnosus-supplemented diet showed better reproductive performances as per follicles development, ovulated oocytes quantification and embryos quality. A plausible involvement of factors such as leptin, and kiss1 and 2 in the improvements was concluded. The observations made on the physiology of female reproduction were correlated with the gene expression of a gigantic number of factors as the aromatase cytochrome p 19 (cyp19a), the vitellogenin (vtg) and the α isoform of the E2 receptor (erα), luteinizing hormone receptor (lhr), 20-β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20β-hsd), membrane progesterone receptors α and β, cyclin B, activinβA1, smad2, transforming growth factor β1 (tgfβ1), growth differentiation factor9 (gdf9) and bone morphogenetic protein15 (bmp15.) A model in which the exogenous L. rhamnosus in the digestive tract of zebrafish from the first days of life through sexual maturation positively influences the physiological performances of zebrafish was evidenced and a number of pathways that might be influenced by the presence of this human probiotic strain were proposed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gonads / drug effects*
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Male
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Zebrafish / growth & development*