Probiotic supplements have promising therapeutic effects on chronic diseases. In this study, we demonstrated the anti-obesity effects of two potential probiotics, Bifidobacterium bifidum DS0908 (DS0908) and Bifidobacterium longum DS0950 (DS0950). Treatment with DS0908 and DS0950 postbiotics significantly induced the expression of the brown adipocyte-specific markers UCP1, PPARγ, PGC1α, PRDM16 and beige adipocyte-specific markers CD137, FGF21, P2RX5, and COX2 in C3H10T1/2 mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In mice with high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity, both potential probiotics and postbiotics noticeably reduced body weight and epididymal fat accumulation without affecting food intake. DS0908 and DS0950 also improved insulin sensitivity and glucose use in mice with HFD-induced obesity. In addition, DS0908 and DS0950 improved the plasma lipid profile, proved by reduced triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein, and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, DS0908 and DS0950 improved mitochondrial respiratory function, confirmed by the high expression of oxidative phosphorylation proteins, during thermogenesis induction in the visceral and epididymal fat in mice with HFD-induced obesity. Notably, the physiological and metabolic changes were more significant after treatment with potential probiotic culture-supernatants than those with the bacterial pellet. Finally, gene knockdown and co-treatment with inhibitor-mediated mechanistic analyses showed that both DS0908 and DS0950 exerted anti-obesity-related effects via the PKA/p38 MAPK signaling activation in C3H10T1/2 MSCs. Our observations suggest that DS0908 and DS0950 could potentially alleviate obesity as dietary supplements.
Keywords: Anti-obesity; PKA/p38 MAPK; postbiotics; probiotics; thermogenesis.