Physiological symptoms of mood disturbances, such as fatigue or anxiety, are closely related to inflammation in the central nervous system or the whole body. Curcuma longa is widely used as a dietary spice and has been reported to have anti-inflammatory activity. To investigate the effect of a water extract of C. longa (WEC) on emotional states, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted with healthy participants. Forty-eight participants were randomly assigned to receive five tablets containing 150 mg WEC and 0.40 mg bisacurone (L-WEC group), five tablets containing 900 mg WEC and 2.40 mg bisacurone (H-WEC group), or matching placebo tablets (placebo group) daily for 8 weeks. Participant emotional states were measured every 4 weeks using the Profile of Mood States (POMS). The changes from week 0 to week 8 in the fatigue score of the POMS were significantly lower in the L-WEC group than in the placebo group. This result suggests that daily intake of 150 mg WEC may positively influence emotional fatigue, and further investigation focused on emotional fatigue is needed.
The Lactobacillus casei/paracasei group accumulates a high level of manganese, which works to scavenge superoxide anions produced during aerobic growth. The genome of L. casei strain Shirota, however, also codes the gene for superoxide dismutase (SOD), sodA, which catalyzes the dismutation of superoxide anion into hydrogen peroxide and oxygen. We anticipated that the SOD and/or manganese may contribute to the aerobic growth of L. casei Shirota and tried to clarify how L. casei Shirota can eliminate the toxicity of superoxide anion. When the sodA of L. casei Shirota was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as well as in L. casei Shirota, there was no increase in SOD activity detected, meaning that the protein is in an inactive form, even if it is produced in L. casei Shirota. We next focused on the role of the manganese transport system of L. casei Shirota. One ABC-type manganese transporter (mtsCBA cluster) and three NRAMP-type manganese transporters (mntH1, mntH2, and mntH3) are coded in the genome. To clarify the role of these genes, we disrupted one or more of these manganese transporter genes in different combinations and analyzed the intracellular manganese levels. As a result, we found that NRAMP-type manganese transporters coded by mntH1 and mntH2 and ABC-type manganese transporter coded by mtsCBA cluster are complementarily involved in the accumulation of intracellular manganese and are necessary for aerobic growth of L. casei Shirota. These results indicate that intracellular manganese accumulated by multiple complementary manganese transporters, but not SOD, plays a pivotal role in tolerance to superoxide in L. casei Shirota.
Transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from probiotic bacteria to pathogens poses a safety concern. Orally administered probiotics are exposed to stressful conditions during gastrointestinal transit. In this study, filter mating experiments were performed to investigate the potential role of exposure of Bifidobacterium isolates to acid and bile stress on the transfer of a tetracycline resistance gene, tet(W), to Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 51299. No E. faecalis transconjugants were obtained after mating with either stressed or unstressed Bifidobacterium, thereby suggesting that tet(W) could not be transferred as a result of exposure to gastrointestinal stresses.
Japanese inpatients with schizophrenia have a higher mortality risk due to underweight compared with the general population. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 4G-β-D-galactosylsucrose on body weight in underweight schizophrenia inpatients. The study population consisted of 5 male and 11 female subjects aged 63.0 ± 10.9 years. The subjects had ingested 3.0 g/day 4G-β-D-galactosylsucrose for 6 months. BMI increased significantly, from 20.9 ± 3.7 kg/m2 to 22.3 ± 4.3 kg/m2, and this was accompanied by a significant increase in Bifidobacterium in the fecal microbiota, which increased from 16.1 ± 12.6% to 21.5 ± 13.9%. Although 4G-β-D-galactosylsucrose appears to have no significant effects on nutritional indicators such as serum albumin, it may alleviate underweight in inpatients with schizophrenia. Body weight may be related to fecal microbiota composition.