The energy-salvaging capacity of the gut microbiota from dietary ingredients has been proposed as a contributing factor for the development of obesity. This knowledge generated interest in the use of non-digestible dietary ingredients such as prebiotics to manipulate host energy homeostasis. In the present study, the in vitro response of obese human faecal microbiota to novel oligosaccharides was investigated. Dextrans of various molecular weights and degrees of branching were fermented with the faecal microbiota of healthy obese adults in pH-controlled batch cultures. Changes in bacterial populations were monitored using fluorescent in situ hybridisation and SCFA concentrations were analysed by HPLC. The rate of gas production and total volume of gas produced were also determined. In general, the novel dextrans and inulin increased the counts of bifidobacteria. Some of the dextrans were able to alter the composition of the obese human microbiota by increasing the counts of Bacteroides-Prevotella and decreasing those of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Ruminococcus bromii/R. flavefaciens. Considerable increases in SCFA concentrations were observed in response to all substrates. Gas production rates were similar during the fermentation of all dextrans, but significantly lower than those during the fermentation of inulin. Lower total gas production and shorter time to attain maximal gas production were observed during the fermentation of the linear 1 kDa dextran than during the fermentation of the other dextrans. The efficacy of bifidobacteria to ferment dextrans relied on the molecular weight and not on the degree of branching. In conclusion, there are no differences in the profiles between the obese and lean human faecal fermentations of dextrans.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel-designed study was conducted to investigate the effect of a synbiotic product containing Lactobacillus gasseri [corrected] CHO-220 and inulin on lipid profiles of hypercholesterolemic men and women. Thirty-two hypercholesterolemic men and women with initial mean plasma cholesterol levels of 5.7±0.32 mmol/L were recruited for the 12-wk study. The subjects were randomly allocated to 2 groups; namely the treatment group (synbiotic product) and the control group (placebo), and each received 4 capsules of synbiotic or placebo daily. Our results showed that the mean body weight, energy, and nutrient intake of the subjects did not differ between the 2 groups over the study period. The supplementation of synbiotic reduced plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol by 7.84 and 9.27%, respectively, compared with the control over 12 wk. Lipoproteins were subsequently subfractionated and characterized. The synbiotic supplementation resulted in a lower concentration of triglycerides in the very low, intermediate, low, and high-density lipoprotein particles compared with the control over 12 wk. The concentration of triglycerides in lipoproteins is positively correlated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Our results showed that the synbiotic might exhibit an atheropreventive characteristic. Cholesteryl ester (CE) in the high-density lipoprotein particles of the synbiotic group was also higher compared with the control, indicating greater transport of cholesterol in the form of CE to the liver for hydrolysis. This may have led to the reduced plasma total cholesterol level of the synbiotic group. The supplementation of synbiotic also reduced the concentration of CE in the LDL particles compared with the control, leading to the formation of smaller and denser particles that are more easily removed from blood. This supported the reduced LDL-cholesterol level of the synbiotic group compared with the control. Our present study showed that the synbiotic product improved plasma total- and LDL-cholesterol levels by modifying the interconnected pathways of lipid transporters. In addition, although Lactobacillus gasseri [corrected] CHO-220 could deconjugate bile, our results showed a statistically insignificant difference in the levels of conjugated, deconjugated, primary, and secondary bile acids between the synbiotic and control groups over 12 wk, indicating safety from bile-related toxicity.
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.