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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Mar;22(3):763-71. doi: 10.1002/oby.20632. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Combined effects of oligofructose and Bifidobacterium animalis on gut microbiota and glycemia in obese rats.

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Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Prebiotics and probiotics may be able to modify an obesity-associated gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to examine the individual and combined effects of the prebiotic oligofructose (OFS) and the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 (BB-12) on gut microbiota and host metabolism in obese rats.


Adult male, diet-induced obese Sprague Dawley rats were randomized to: (1) Control (C); (2) 10% OFS; (3) BB-12; (4) OFS + BB-12 for 8 weeks (n = 9-10 rats/group). Body composition, glycemia, gut permeability, satiety hormones, cytokines, and gut microbiota were examined.


Prebiotic, but not probiotic reduced energy intake, weight gain, and fat mass (P < 0.01). OFS, BB-12, and the combined OFS + BB-12 improved glycemia (P < 0.05). Individually, OFS and BB-12 reduced insulin levels (P < 0.05). Portal GLP-1 was increased with OFS, whereas probiotic increased GLP-2 (P < 0.05). There was a marked increase in bifidobacteria and lactobacilli (P < 0.01) with OFS that was not observed with probiotic alone.


The impact of prebiotic intake on body composition and gut microbiota was of greater magnitude than the probiotic BB-12. Despite this, an improvement in glucose AUC with both prebiotic or probiotic demonstrates the beneficial role of each of these "biotic" agents in glycemic control.

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