This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel-design study was conducted to investigate the effect of a synbiotic product containing Lactobacillus gasseri [corrected] CHO-220 and inulin on the irregularity in shape of red blood cells (RBC) in hypercholesterolemic subjects. The subjects (n=32) were randomly allocated to 2 groups, a treatment group (synbiotic product) and a control group (placebo), and received 4 capsules of either synbiotic or placebo daily for 12 wk. Morphological representation via scanning electron microscopy showed that the occurrence of spur RBC was improved upon supplementation of the synbiotic. In addition, the supplementation of synbiotic reduced the cholesterol:phospholipids ratio of the RBC membrane by 47.02% over 12 wk, whereas the control showed insignificant changes. Our present study also showed that supplementation of the synbiotic reduced the concentration of saturated fatty acids (SFA), increased unsaturated fatty acids (UFA), and increased the ratio of UFA:SFA over 12 wk, whereas the control showed inconspicuous changes. The alteration of RBC membrane was assessed using fluorescence anisotropy (FAn) and fluorescence probes with different affinities for varying sections of the membrane phospholipid bilayer. A noticeable decrease in FAn of three fluorescent probes was observed in the synbiotic group compared with the control over 12 wk, indicative of increased membrane fluidity and reduced cholesterol enrichment in the RBC membrane.
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