Study on DuPont probiotic shows reduction in weight gain, improved glucose tolerance

Administration of a Dupont Danisco probiotic strain reduces weight gain and improves glucose tolerance, thereby counteracting the adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice

A landmark probiotic study was done as part of collaboration between Professor Remy Burcelin, an internationally renowned expert of glucose metabolism and research director at the National Institute of Health & Medical Research (INSERM) in Toulouse, France, and the DuPont Nutrition & Health Research Centre in Kantvik, Finland.

'A decade ago, scientists first proposed the causal role of gut microbiota on the control of body weight gain. Ever since, this field has become a major research and economical axis that has not yet identified strategies with clear, added clinical value. Today new avenues are open thanks to well-characterized probiotics. The corresponding mechanisms are being uncovered, which reinforce the opportunity of efficiently targeting the gut microbiota for the physiological control of metabolism,' said Professor Burcelin of the study.

'These new results confirm previous animal study results and show that Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis 420 (B420) may have an effect on weight and body composition, as well as on the development of metabolic diseases, such as insulin resistance,' said Sampo Lahtinen, active nutrition technology leader of DuPont Nutrition & Health, Kantvik.

The Action of Bifidobacterium lactis 420

The selected probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium lactis 420, is a naturally occurring strain, originally isolated from dairy products. The strain has been studied by the Active Nutrition Research Group of DuPont Nutrition & Health during a period of many years, mainly focusing on its anti-inflammatory properties and more recently on its effect on metabolism.

The researchers used two high-fat diet models: obese mice with metabolic disorders, or diabetic mice. The probiotic strain B420 was demonstrated to drastically reduce body fat mass, as well as to improve glucose tolerance which was impaired in these mouse models. Importantly, B420 treatment reduced liver inflammatory markers in the diabetic mice to the level of healthy control mice.

The liver is one of the most important organs controlling metabolism and has a central role in the development of obesityrelated metabolic diseases. Thereby, this finding indicates that probiotic treatment may have further widespread effects on metabolism. Intestinal mechanisms were explored in the diabetic mouse model where B420 was shown to reduce adhesion of certain pathogenic bacteria onto the small intestinal mucosa.

These bacteria hold a highly inflammatory surface molecule called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Elevated blood LPS concentration - metabolic endotoxemia - is blamed by many scientists for low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, and even obesity. Strikingly, B420 also was able to completely normalize plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in diabetic mice.

Developing a New Area of Expertise

Obesity, fatty liver and insulin resistance are part of the so-called cardiometabolic syndrome (metabolic syndrome, syndrome-x) which has been increasingly linked to an imbalance (dysbiosis) of the intestinal microbiota. This finding implies that probiotics and prebiotics could potentially help fight obesity and its related metabolic disorders when those disorders are related to a dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, and must be further investigated.

'We strongly believe that this new research area may open up new opportunities for probiotics in functional foods in the future and we have developed a research programme on the effects of probiotics on metabolic diseases,' said Martin Kullen, health and protection technology leader of DuPont Nutrition & Health.