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J Dairy Sci. 2013 May;96(5):2746-53. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-6123. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Lactobacillus plantarum strains as potential probiotic cultures with cholesterol-lowering activity.

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Central Research Laboratory, Second Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130041, People's Republic of China.


Elevated blood cholesterol is an important risk factor associated with atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The search for mediators that fine-tune cholesterol homeostasis has revealed lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to be potentially beneficial. The aim of the present study was to identify and characterize probiotic strains with bile salt hydrolase activity from kefir grains and evaluate their potential use as cholesterol-reducing probiotics in rats. Two isolates, Lp09 and Lp45, obtained from kefir grains were identified as Lactobacillus plantarum via molecular typing methods. Lactobacillus plantarum Lp09 and Lp45 exhibited excellent tolerance to low pH levels and high bile salt concentrations and showed potential bile salt hydrolase activity, bile salt deconjugation activity, and cholesterol coprecipitation ability. Additionally, the potential effect of Lb. plantarum Lp09 and Lp45 on plasma cholesterol levels was evaluated in Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats in 3 treatment groups were fed different experimental diets: a high-cholesterol diet, a high-cholesterol diet plus Lb. plantarum Lp09, or a high-cholesterol diet plus Lb. plantarum Lp45 for 4 wk. Total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in serum as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels in liver were significantly decreased in the LAB-treated rats compared with rats fed a high-cholesterol diet without LAB supplementation. Also, both fecal cholesterol and bile acid levels were significantly increased after LAB administration. No significant changes were detected in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These results suggest that the Lb. plantarum Lp09 and Lp45 strains present the potential to be explored as probiotic agents for the management of hypercholesterolemia.

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