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PLoS One. 2018 Dec 31;13(12):e0210120. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210120. eCollection 2018.

Protective effects of Bacillus probiotics against high-fat diet-induced metabolic disorders in mice.

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School of Life Science, Handong Global University, Pohang, Gyungbuk, Republic of Korea.
Department of Advanced Green Energy and Environment (AGEE), Handong Global University, Pohang, Gyungbuk, Republic of Korea.
Holzapfel Effective Microbes (HEM), Pohang, Gyungbuk, Republic of Korea.


Recently, modulation of gut microbiota by probiotics treatment has been emerged as a promising strategy for treatment of metabolic disorders. Apart from lactic acid bacteria, Bacillus species (Bacillus spp.) have also been paid attention as potential probiotics, but nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms for their protective effect against metabolic dysfunction remain to be elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that a probiotic mixture composed of 5 different Bacillus spp. protects mice from high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Probiotic Bacillus treatment substantially attenuated body weight gain and enhanced glucose tolerance by sensitizing insulin action in skeletal muscle and epididymal adipose tissue (EAT) of HFD-fed mice. Bacillus-treated HFD-fed mice also exhibited significantly suppressed chronic inflammation in the liver, EAT and skeletal muscle, which was observed to be associated with reduced HFD-induced intestinal permeability and enhanced adiponectin production. Additionally, Bacillus treatment significantly reversed HFD-induced hepatic steatosis. In Bacillus-treated mice, hepatic expression of lipid oxidative genes was significantly increased, and lipid accumulation in subcutaneous and mesenteric adipose tissues were significantly decreased, commensurate with down-regulated expression of genes involved in lipid uptake and lipogenesis. Although, in Bacillus-treated mice, significant alterations in gut microbiota composition was not observed, the enhanced expression of tight junction-associated proteins showed a possibility of improving gut barrier function by Bacillus treatment. Our findings provide possible explanations how Bacillus probiotics protect diet-induced obese mice against metabolic disorders, identifying the treatment of probiotic Bacillus as a potential therapeutic approach.

Conflict of interest statement

Yosep Ji and Wilhelm Holzapfel, who are board members of Holzapfel Effective Microbes (HEM), declare conflict of interest as they have collaborated in gut microbiota analysis and this study was partially funded by HEM. The other authors declare no conflict of interest. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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