Lactococcus lactis Subspecies cremoris Elicits Protection Against Metabolic Changes Induced by a Western-Style Diet

Gastroenterology. 2020 Aug;159(2):639-651.e5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.03.010. Epub 2020 Mar 10.


Background & aims: A Western-style diet, which is high in fat and sugar, can cause significant dyslipidemia and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; the diet has an especially strong effect in women, regardless of total calorie intake. Dietary supplementation with beneficial microbes might reduce the detrimental effects of a Western-style diet. We assessed the effects of Lactococcus lactis subspecies (subsp) cremoris on weight gain, liver fat, serum cholesterol, and insulin resistance in female mice on a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

Methods: Female C57BL/6 mice were fed either a high-fat, high-carbohydrate (Western-style) diet that contained 40% fat (mostly milk fat) and 43% carbohydrate (mostly sucrose) or a calorie-matched-per-gram control diet. The diets of mice were supplemented with 1 × 109 colony-forming units of L lactis subsp cremoris ATCC 19257 or Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (control bacteria) 3 times per week for 16 weeks. Body weights were measured, and fecal, blood, and liver tissues were collected and analyzed. Livers were analyzed for fat accumulation and inflammation, and blood samples were analyzed for cholesterol and glucose levels. Mice were housed within Comprehensive Lab Animal Monitoring System cages, and respiratory exchange ratio and activity were measured. Hepatic lipid profiles of L lactis subsp cremoris-supplemented mice were characterized by lipidomics mass spectrometry analysis.

Results: Mice fed L lactis subsp cremoris while on the Western-style diet gained less weight, developed less hepatic steatosis and inflammation, and had a lower mean serum level of cholesterol and body mass index than mice fed the control bacteria. Mice fed the L lactis subsp cremoris had increased glucose tolerance while on the Western-style diet compared to mice fed control bacteria and had alterations in hepatic lipids, including oxylipins.

Conclusions: Dietary supplementation with L lactis subsp cremoris in female mice on a high-fat, high-carbohydrate (Western-style) diet caused them to gain less weight, develop less liver fat and inflammation, reduce serum cholesterol levels, and increase glucose tolerance compared with mice on the same diet fed control bacteria. L lactis subsp cremoris is safe for oral ingestion and might be developed for persons with metabolic and liver disorders caused by a Western-style diet.

Keywords: NAFLD; Obesity; Probiotics; Sexual Dimorphism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Dyslipidemias / metabolism
  • Dyslipidemias / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lactococcus*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / prevention & control*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Weight Gain


  • Cholesterol

Supplementary concepts

  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris