The probiotic Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum 35624® (B. longum 35624®), with its surface exopolysaccharide (EPS624), has previously been demonstrated to induce immunoregulatory responses in the host and may, therefore, be a novel approach to prevent bone loss in inflammatory conditions such as post-menopausal osteoporosis (PMO). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of EPS624 on osteoclast and osteoblast differentiation and to assess the potential of B. longum 35624® to prevent bone loss in vivo. In vitro cell assays were used to assess the impact of EPS624 on osteoclast and osteoblast differentiation. The potential of two probiotic B. longum 35624® strains, including an EPS-deficient strain, for preventing ovariectomy (Ovx)-induced bone loss was assessed in a murine model. EPS624 prevented osteoclast formation from murine bone marrow precursors under both normal and TNFα-induced inflammatory conditions and modestly increased mineralized matrix deposition in osteogenic cell cultures. However, in the presence of an anti-TLR2 blocking antibody, or in MyD88-/- osteoclast precursors, the inhibitory effect of EPS624 on osteoclast formation was diminished or completely prevented, respectively. Moreover, EPS624 induced IL-10 production in osteoclast precursors in a TLR2-dependent manner, although IL-10 was dispensable in the EPS624-mediated inhibition of osteoclast formation. In addition, EPS624-producing B. longum 35624® partially prevented bone loss in Ovx mice when administered by oral gavage. This study introduced EPS624 as a potential anti-resorptive therapy, although optimal in vivo delivery of the probiotic strain for treating low-grade inflammatory diseases such as PMO remains to be determined.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Exopolysaccharide; Osteoclast; Ovariectomy; Probiotics; TLR2.