Probiotic attributes, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuromodulatory effects of Enterococcus faecium CFR 3003: in vitro and in vivo evidence

J Med Microbiol. 2015 Dec;64(12):1527-1540. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.000184. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


Accumulating evidence suggests that probiotic bacteria play a vital role in modulating various aspects integral to the health and well-being of humans. In the present study, probiotic attributes and the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuromodulatory potential of Enterococcus faecium CFR 3003 were investigated by employing suitable model systems. E. faecium exhibited robust resistance to gastrointestinal stress conditions as it could withstand acid stress at pH 1.5, 2 and 3. The bacterium also survived at a bile salt concentration of 0.45 %, and better tolerance was observed towards pepsin and trypsin. E. faecium produced lactic acid as a major metabolic product, followed by butyric acid. Lyophilized cell-free supernatant (LCS) of E. faecium exhibited significant antioxidant capacity evaluated against 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl, ascorbate auto-oxidation, oxygen radical absorbance and reducing power. Interestingly, E. faecium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG MTCC 1408 and LCS showed a significant anti-inflammatory effect by negatively modulating TNF-α production and upregulating IL-10 levels in LPS-stimulated macrophage cell lines. In an in vivo mice model, the propensity of probiotic supplements to modulate endogenous oxidative markers and redox status in brain regions was assessed. Young mice provided with oral supplements (daily for 28 days) of E. faecium and L. rhamnosus exhibited diminished oxidative markers in the brain and enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes with a concomitant increase in γ-aminobutyric acid and dopamine levels. Collectively, our findings clearly suggest the propensity of these bacteria to protect against tissue damage mediated through free radicals and inflammatory cytokines. Although the underlying molecular mechanisms need further studies, it is tempting to speculate that probiotics confer a neuroprotective advantage in vivo against oxidative damage-mediated neurodegenerative conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Anxiety
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cecum / microbiology
  • Cell Line
  • Enterococcus faecium / drug effects
  • Enterococcus faecium / physiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pepsin A / pharmacology
  • Probiotics*
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Trypsin / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Trypsin
  • Pepsin A