Objective: To investigate the functional effects of probiotic treatment on the gut microbiota, as well as liver and adipose gene expression in diet-induced obese mice.
Design: Male C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks to induce obesity, and then randomized to receive HFD+probiotic (Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601 and Lactobacillus plantarum KY1032, n = 9) or HFD+placebo (n = 9) for another 10 weeks. Normal diet (ND) fed mice (n = 9) served as non-obese controls.
Results: Diet-induced obese mice treated with probiotics showed reduced body weight gain and fat accumulation as well as lowered plasma insulin, leptin, total-cholesterol and liver toxicity biomarkers. A total of 151,061 pyrosequencing reads for fecal microbiota were analyzed with a mean of 6,564, 5,274 and 4,464 reads for the ND, HFD+placebo and HFD+probiotic groups, respectively. Gut microbiota species were shared among the experimental groups despite the different diets and treatments. The diversity of the gut microbiota and its composition were significantly altered in the diet-induced obese mice and after probiotic treatment. We observed concurrent transcriptional changes in adipose tissue and the liver. In adipose tissue, pro-inflammatory genes (TNFα, IL6, IL1β and MCP1) were down-regulated in mice receiving probiotic treatment. In the liver, fatty acid oxidation-related genes (PGC1α, CPT1, CPT2 and ACOX1) were up-regulated in mice receiving probiotic treatment.
Conclusions: The gut microbiota of diet-induced obese mice appears to be modulated in mice receiving probiotic treatment. Probiotic treatment might reduce diet-induced obesity and modulate genes associated with metabolism and inflammation in the liver and adipose tissue.