Obesity is a prevalent chronic condition in many developed and developing nations that raises the risk for developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Previous studies have shown that consuming particular probiotic strains of Lactobacillus is associated with improvement in the obese and diabetic phenotype; however, the mechanisms of these beneficial effects are not well understood. In this study, C57BL/6J male mice were fed a lard-based high fat diet for 15 weeks with Lactobacillus plantarum supplementation NCIMB8826 (Lp) between weeks 10 and 15 ( n = 10 per group). Systemic metabolic effects of supplementation were analyzed by NMR metabolomics, protein expression assays, gene transcript quantification, and 16S rRNA marker gene sequencing. Body and organ weights were not significantly different with Lp supplementation, and no microbiota community structure changes were observed in the cecum; however, L. plantarum numbers were increased in the treatment group according to culture-based and 16S rRNA gene quantification. Significant differences in metabolite and protein concentrations (serum, liver, and colon), gene expression (ileum and adipose), and cytokines (colon) were observed between groups with increases in the gene expression of tight junction proteins in the ileum and cecum and improvement of some markers of glucose homeostasis in blood and tissue with Lp supplementation. These results indicate Lp supplementation impacts systemic metabolism and immune signaling before phenotypic changes and without large-scale changes to the microbiome. This study supports the notion that Lp is a beneficial probiotic, even in the context of a high fat diet.
Keywords: Lactobacillus plantarum; high-fat diet; metabolism; microbiome.