The modulation of gut microbiota is considered to be the ﬁrst target to establish probiotic eﬃcacy in a healthy population.
This study was conducted to determine the impact of a probiotic on the intestinal microbial ecology of healthy volunteers.
High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing was used to characterize the fecal microbiota in healthy adults (23-55 y old) of both sexes, before and after 4 weeks of daily consumption of a capsule containing at least 24 billion viable Lactobacillus paracasei DG cells, according to a randomized, double-blind, crossover placebo-controlled design.
Probiotic intake induced an increase in Proteobacteria (P = 0.006) and in the Clostridiales genus Coprococcus (P = 0.009), whereas the Clostridiales genus Blautia (P = 0.036) was decreased; a trend of reduction was also observed for Anaerostipes (P = 0.05) and Clostridium (P = 0.06). We also found that the probiotic eﬀect depended on the initial butyrate concentration. In fact, participants with butyrate >100 mmol/kg of wet feces had a mean butyrate reduction of 49 ± 21% and a concomitant decrease in the sum of 6 Clostridiales genera, namely Faecalibacterium, Blautia, Anaerostipes, Pseudobutyrivibrio, Clostridium, and Butyrivibrio (P = 0.021), after the probiotic intervention. In contrast, in participants with initial butyrate concentrations <25 mmol/kg of wet feces, the probiotic contributed to a 329 ± 255% (mean ± SD) increment in butyrate concomitantly with an ∼55% decrease in Ruminococcus (P = 0.016) and a 150% increase in an abundantly represented unclassiﬁed Bacteroidales genus (P = 0.05).
The intake of L. paracasei DG increased the Coprococcus:Blautia ratio, which, according to the literature, can potentially confer a health beneﬁt on the host. The probiotic impact on the microbiota and on short-chain fatty acids, however, seems to strictly depend on the initial characteristics of the intestinal microbial ecosystem. In particular, fecal butyrate concentrations could represent an important biomarker for identifying subjects who may beneﬁt from probiotic treatment. This trial was registered at www.controlledtrials.com/isrctn as ISRCTN56945491.
Ferrario C, Taverniti V, Milani C, Fiore W, Laureati M, De Noni I, Stuknyte M, Chouaia B, Riso P, Guglielmetti S
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