Recently, we found a novel function of the lactic acid bacterium Tetragenococcus halophilus derived from miso, a fermented soy paste, that induces interleukin (IL)-22 production in B cells preferentially. IL-22 plays a critical role in barrier functions in the gut and skin. We further screened other bacteria species, namely, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Weissella, Pediococcus, and Bacillus, in addition to Tetragenococcus and found that some of them possessed robust IL-22-inducible function in B cells in vitro. This process resulted in the augmented expression of activation markers CD86 and CD69 on B and T cells, respectively. However, these observations were not correlated with IL-22 production. We isolated Bacillus coagulans sc-09 from miso and determined it to be the best strain to induce robust IL-22 production in B cells. Furthermore, feeding B. coagulans sc-09 to mice augmented the barrier function of the skin regardless of gut microbiota.
In recent years, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have been reported to play an important role in maintaining human health. Fecal SCFA concentrations correlate well with colonic SCFA status and gut microbiota composition. However, the associations with the gut microbiota functional pathway, dietary intake, blood SCFAs, and fecal SCFAs remain uncertain. To clarify these relationships, we collected fecal samples, blood samples, and dietary habit data from 12 healthy adults aged 22–51 years. The relative abundance of several SCFA-producing bacteria, gut microbiota diversity, and functional pathways related to SCFA biosynthesis were positively associated with fecal SCFAs even after adjusting for age and sex. Furthermore, fecal acetate was likely to be positively associated with serum acetate. By contrast, dietary intake was not associated with fecal SCFAs. Overall, the present study highlights the potential usefulness of fecal SCFAs as an indicator of the gut microbiota ecosystem and dynamics of SCFAs in the human body.
A dose-escalation study was conducted to find the effective dose of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris FC for improving defecation in healthy subjects. Twenty-seven subjects were recruited and consecutively ingested a placebo and two dose levels of L. cremoris FC (dose level 1, 1 × 107 cfu; dose level 2, 2 × 107 cfu) capsules daily for two weeks. Frequency of defecation (times/week) was significantly increased by dose level 2, and stool volume (units/week) was significantly increased by dose level 1. This dose-escalation study elucidated that intake of at least 1 × 107 cfu L. cremoris FC improves defecation.