Increased inflammation associated with leaky gut is a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality in older adults; however, successful preventive and therapeutic strategies against these conditions are not available. In this study, we demonstrate that a human-origin Lactobacillus paracasei D3-5 strain (D3-5), even in the non-viable form, extends life span of Caenorhabditis elegans. In addition, feeding of heat-killed D3-5 to old mice (> 79 weeks) prevents high- fat diet-induced metabolic dysfunctions, decreases leaky gut and inflammation, and improves physical and cognitive functions. D3-5 feeding significantly increases mucin production, and proportionately, the abundance of mucin-degrading bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila also increases. Mechanistically, we show that the lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a cell wall component of D3-5, enhances mucin (Muc2) expression by modulating TLR-2/p38-MAPK/NF-kB pathway, which in turn reduces age-related leaky gut and inflammation. The findings indicate that the D3-5 and its LTA can prevent/treat age-related leaky gut and inflammation.
Keywords: Aging; Cell wall; Cognition; Goblet cell; Inflammation; Leaky gut; Lipoteichoic acid; Metabolism; Mucin; Physical function; Probiotics.