Gut microbiota are responsible for a variety of metabolic activities including food digestion and production of biologically active substances. Moreover, several recent works, including our own, have also shown that gut microbiota play an important role not only in the development of brain function but also in the pathology of stress-related diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. In this review, we focus on the interaction between gut microbes and the brain-gut axis and introduce some basic concepts and recent developments in this area of research.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Its prevalence increases with increasing rates of obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes mellitus. The pathogenesis of NAFLD involves many factors, including the gastrointestinal microbiota. However, there is still debate about the impact of gut dysbiosis in the NAFLD disease progression. Therefore, this paper aims to review the relationship between gut microbiota and other risk factors for NAFLD and how gut dysbiosis plays a role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Hopefully, this paper can make an appropriate contribution to the development of NAFLD research in the future.
Resistant maltodextrin (RMD) is a soluble dietary fibre that exerts several physiological functions as a result of its microbial degradation and changes in the intestinal environment. It has been reported that RMD enhanced immunoglobulin A (IgA) secretion, which protects the mucosa from foreign substances. However, the effect of RMD on excessive immunity has yet to be investigated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of RMD on excessive immune responses such as food allergy. OVA23-3 mice were fed an AIN-76-based diet containing 20% egg-white protein with or without RMD. While RMD was shown to contribute to an increase in goblet cells, RMD did not change the overall inflammatory status when ingested with the egg-white diet. RMD suppressed IL-4 and IL-10 production from splenocytes but not cells from mesenteric lymph nodes. RMD also downregulated the serum levels of OVA-specific Th1- and Th2-related antibodies, which were elevated in the food-allergic condition. RMD significantly increased the total amount of short-chain fatty acids, especially acetate and propionate, in the caecum of OVA23-3 mice fed the egg-white diet. Our study demonstrated that dietary RMD modulates systemic rather than intestinal antigen-specific immune responses in the food-allergic condition of OVA23-3 mice. Although the relevant mechanism has yet to be investigated, RMD shows potential for alleviating food allergy through adjustment of systemic immunity.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydroxyl and superoxide anion radicals, are highly reactive molecules derived from the metabolism of oxygen. ROS play positive roles in cell physiology, but they may also damage cell membranes and DNA, inducing oxidation that causes membrane lipid peroxidation and decreases membrane fluidity. Soymilk yogurt, which is soymilk fermented using lactic acid bacteria (LAB), is an excellent food item with numerous functional substances with antioxidant effects. In this study, the antioxidative activities of soymilk yogurt were investigated. Sixteen of the 26 tested LAB strains solidified soymilk. In antioxidant capacity tests for bacterial cells, Leuconostoc mesenteroides MYU 60 and Pediococcus pentosaceus MYU 759 showed the highest values in the oxygen radical antioxidant capacity (ORAC) and hydroxyl radical antioxidant capacity (HORAC) tests, respectively. The supernatant of soymilk yogurt made with Lactobacillus gasseri MYU 1 showed the highest ORAC and HORAC values. L. mesenteroides MYU 60, Lactobacillus plantarum MYU 74, Lactobacillus reuteri MYU 220, and P. pentosaceus MYU 759 showed significantly high N-acetylcysteine equivalent values compared with the control in a total ROS reducing assay (p<0.05). These strains were selected, and a comet assay was performed, which exhibited decreased values in all selected strains compared with the control, indicating DNA protection. An acidic exopolysaccharide produced by P. pentosaceus MYU 759 showed high antioxidant capacity. The antioxidant substances produced by LAB fermentation may be exopolysaccharides, antioxidant peptides, and isoflavone aglycones. Soymilk yogurt can be used as a functional food useful for various diseases related to oxidation.
Bifidobacterium infantis, a Gram-positive bacterium, is one of the commonly used probiotics. We previously showed that B. infantis modified host defense systems and extended the lifespan of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In the present study, we showed that the lifespan extension caused by B. infantis was enhanced in animals having a mutation in the tol-1 gene that encodes the sole C. elegans homolog of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Meanwhile, lifespan increased by other probiotic bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis or Clostridium butyricum, was not affected in the tol-1 mutant animals. A microarray analysis revealed that the expression of innate immune response-related genes was significantly increased in the tol-1 mutant. Worms with the tol-1 mutation exhibited reduced leaving behavior from the B. infantis lawn, while canonical downstream factors trf-1/TRAF and ikb-1/IκB appeared to not be involved. In conclusion, C. elegans tol-1/TLR regulates B. infantis-induced longevity and also regulates behavior against B. infantis.
Phosphoketolase (PK) is responsible for heterolactic fermentation; however, the PK gene of Enterococcus mundtii QU 25, xfpA, is transcribed constitutively, even under homolactic fermentation conditions. In order to deduce the regulatory mechanisms of PK activity in QU 25, XfpA levels in QU 25 cells under hetero- and homolactic fermentation conditions were tested using western blotting. The results showed that the XfpA protein expression was similar under both conditions and that the expression products formed complexes, most likely homodimers, indicating that the regulation of PK activity is downstream of translation.