Background: The gut microbiota is playing more important roles in host immune regulation than was initially expected. Since many benefits of microbes are highly strain-specific and their mechanistic details remain largely elusive, further identification of new probiotic bacteria with immunoregulatory potentials is of great interest.
Results: We have screened our collection of probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) for their efficacy in modulating host immune response. Some LAB are characterized by suppression of TNF-α induction when LAB culture supernatants are added to THP-1 cells, demonstrating the LAB's anti-inflammatory potential. These suppressive materials were not inactivated by heat or trypsin. On the other hand, treatment of THP-1 directly with live bacterial cells identified a group of pro-inflammatory LAB, which stimulated significant production of TNF-α. Among those, we chose the Lactobacillus reuteri BM36301 as an anti-inflammatory strain and the L. reuteri BM36304 as a pro-inflammatory strain, and further studied their in vivo effects. We supplied C57BL/6 mice with these bacteria in drinking water while feeding them a standard diet for 20 weeks. Interestingly, these L. reuteri strains evoked different consequences depending on the gender of the mice. That is, males treated with anti-inflammatory BM36301 experienced less weight gain and higher testosterone level; females treated with BM36301 maintained lower serum TNF-α as well as healthy skin with active folliculogenesis and hair growth. Furthermore, while males treated with pro-inflammatory BM36304 developed higher serum levels of TNF-α and insulin, in contrast females did not experience such effects from this bacteria strain.
Conclusion: The L. reuteri BM36301 was selected as an anti-inflammatory strain in vitro. It helped mice maintain healthy conditions as they aged. These findings propose the L. reuteri BM36301 as a potential probiotic strain to improve various aspects of aging issues.
Keywords: Aging; Anti-inflammatory; C57BL/6 mice; Hair growth; L. reuteri; Lactic acid bacteria; Probiotics; Skin health; TNF-α; Testosterone.