Lactobacillus rhamnosus PB01 (DSM 14870) supplementation affects markers of sperm kinematic parameters in a diet-induced obesity mice model

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 10;12(10):e0185964. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185964. eCollection 2017.


Probiotics have been proposed as alternatives to pharmacological products in several medical conditions including the modulation of obesity, which is frequently associated with poor semen quality. However, effects of probiotics on male fertility have been less investigated. This study assessed the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus PB01 (DSM-14870) on sperm kinematic parameters in Normal-weight (NW) and diet-induced obese (DIO) models. NW and DIO C57BL/6NTac mice were divided into two subgroups with or without a single daily dose (1x109CFU) of L. rhamnosus for four weeks. Sperm motility and kinematics together with blood lipid profiles and reproductive hormone levels were assessed using the sperm class analyzer system. Probiotic supplementation increased serum testosterone, LH and FSH levels in both NW and DIO groups resulting in significantly (P<0.05) higher velocity (VSL, VCL and VAP) and percentages of progressively motile sperm and significantly lower percentages of immotile sperm. Other kinematic parameters (Lin, STR, ALH and BCF) were also increased in both probiotic supplemented DIO and NW groups at the 10% level of significance. Probiotic supplemented DIO mice demonstrated significantly higher percentages of progressively motile sperm versus DIO controls. This study demonstrated the potential of L. rhamnosus PB01 as a regulatory agent with positive effects on weight loss and reproductive-hormones, significantly improving sperm motility and kinematic parameters in male DIO models.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus / physiology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Semen Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone

Grants and funding

This study was supported by internal funding from the "Department of Health Science and Technology", Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. The sperm class analyzer (SCA) computer aided sperm analysis (CASA) system was provided by a fund from Ferring pharmaceuticals to Aalborg University Hospital (H.I.N). Bifodan A/S provided the probiotic supplements used in this study. EB is employed at the Research and Development department of Bifodan A/S. EB provided scientific input on the preparation and use of the probiotics but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This commercial affiliation does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials. The funders ("Ferring pharmaceuticals" and "Bifodan A/S") provided support only in the form of the mentioned materials and instruments used in the study, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the 'author contributions' section.