Oral administration of heparin or heparosan increases the Lactobacillus population in gut microbiota of rats

Carbohydr Polym. 2013 Apr 15;94(1):100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.01.075. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Heparin and heparosan have been confirmed to be effective blockers in inhibiting adhesion of pathogens in vitro. However, their effects on gut microbiota in vivo remain unknown. Here we have studied the effects of oral administration of heparin or heparosan on gut microbiota in rats by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Results showed that the predominant bacterial communities in the feces of heparin- or heparosan-treated animals were different from those of the saline-treated animals, with increased Lactobacillus spp. and decreased Enterococcus sp. Different DGGE banding patterns were also observed for the subpopulations of Lactobacillus and Bacteroides groups. In conclusion, heparin or heparosan may be used as an effective gut microbiota modulator by increasing the subpopulation of Lactobacillus.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Bacteroides / genetics
  • Clostridium / drug effects
  • Clostridium / genetics
  • Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis
  • Disaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Enterococcus / genetics
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / pharmacology*
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects
  • Lactobacillus / genetics*
  • Male
  • Molecular Typing
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Disaccharides
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • heparosan
  • Heparin