Heat-killed Lactobacillus plantarum L-137 (HK L-137) has anti-allergic, antitumor, and antiviral effects in mice, as well as an anti-inflammatory effect in rats with metabolic syndrome through regulation of immunity. To evaluate the influence of HK L-137 on chronic inflammation in mice with diet-induced obesity, C57BL/6 J mice were fed a normal diet (16% of energy as fat) or a high-fat diet (62% of energy as fat) with or without 0.002% HK L-137 for 4 to 20 weeks. It was found that HK L-137 supplementation alleviated weight gain and elevation of plasma glucose, cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate transaminase levels in mice with diet-induced obesity. Expression of several inflammation-related genes, including F4/80, CD11c, and IL-1β, in the epididymal adipose tissue of these mice was significantly downregulated by HK L-137. In addition, plasma levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, a marker of endotoxemia, tended to be decreased by administration of HK L-137. These findings suggest that HK L-137 supplementation ameliorates obesity-induced metabolic abnormalities and adipose tissue inflammation, possibly through improvement of intestinal permeability.
Appendicitis is the most common cause of sudden-onset abdominal pain requiring surgery. Culture-independent techniques have revealed that the complex intestinal bacterial ecology is associated with various diseases. To evaluate differences in patient characteristics and gut microbiota distribution in patients with appendicitis, we enrolled 12 patients who underwent appendectomy for appendicitis (appendicitis group) and 13 patients who underwent ileocecal resection or right hemicolectomy for colon cancer (control group). Microbiota were analyzed using next-generation sequencing of surgical specimens from appendix swab samples collected postoperatively. Overall differences in the structure of the gut microbiota were evaluated using the α- and β-diversity indices, which were calculated using the weighted or unweighted UniFrac distance. Changes in the gut microbial distribution were taxonomically evaluated at the phylum and genus levels. The α-diversity of observed species was significantly different between patients with and without inflammation of the appendix. The appendiceal microbiome of patients with appendicitis exhibited the highest unweighted UniFrac distances. There were no significant differences at the phylum level. Ruminococcus (p=0.02) and f_erysipelotrichaceae_g_clostridium (p=0.005) were increased in the control group compared with the appendicitis group. This pilot study provides the first report of the correlation of the gut microbiota with the pathogenesis of appendicitis evaluated using mucus-origin sampling.
In human medicine, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection. It has also been tested as a treatment for multiple gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, only a few studies have focused on the changes in the microbiome following FMT for canine IBD. Here, we performed FMT in nine dogs with IBD using the fecal matter of healthy dogs and investigated the subsequent changes in the fecal microbiome and clinical signs. In three dogs, the fecal microbiome was examined by 16S rRNA sequencing. Fusobacteria were observed at a low proportion in dogs with IBD. However, the post-FMT microbiome became diverse and showed a significant increase in Fusobacteria proportion. Fusobacterium was detected in the nine dogs by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The proportion of Fusobacterium in the post-FMT fecal microbiome was significantly increased (p<0.05). The changes in clinical signs (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss) were evaluated according to the canine inflammatory bowel disease activity index. The score of this index significantly decreased in all dogs (p<0.05) with improvements in clinical signs. These improvements were related to the changes in the proportion of microbes, particularly the increase in Fusobacterium. The dogs with IBD showed a lower proportion of Fusobacterium than healthy dogs. This suggests that a low proportion of Fusobacterium is a characteristic feature of canine IBD and that Fusobacterium is involved in this disease. The results of this study may help elucidate the pathogenesis of this disease and its association with Fusobacterium.
Chronic constipation is a functional disorder that decreases a patient’s quality of life (QOL). Because dysbiosis has been associated with constipation, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 (BBG9-1) in improving QOL in patients with constipation. This was a prospective, single-center, non-blinded, single-arm feasibility trial. A total of 31 patients with constipation and decreased QOL received BBG9-1 treatment for 8 weeks, followed by a 2-week washout period. The primary endpoint was change in the overall Japanese version of the patient assessment of constipation of QOL (JPAC-QOL) score after probiotic administration relative to that at baseline. Secondary endpoints included changes in gut microbiota, stool consistency, frequency of bowel movement, degree of straining, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and frequency of rescue drug use. The overall JPAC-QOL scores and frequency of bowel movement significantly improved after BBG9-1 administration from those at baseline (p<0.01 and p<0.01, respectively). There were no statistically significant changes in other clinical symptoms. Subset analysis revealed that patients with initial Bristol Stool Form Scale stool types of <4 had improvements in stool consistency, a significant increase in the frequency of bowel movements, and a significant alleviation in the degree of straining, following BBG9-1 administration. At the genus and species levels, Sarcina and Sarcina maxima were significantly increased. Functional analysis showed that butanoate metabolism increased significantly, whereas methane metabolism decreased significantly. We concluded that BBG9-1 is safe and improves QOL in patients with constipation. The underlying improvements may be due to changes in stool consistency.
A reporter assay system is an essential tool for investigating gene expression mechanisms. In the case of bifidobacteria, several convenient and sensitive reporter systems have been developed. Here, we developed a new reporter system for bifidobacteria using the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene (cat) from Staphylococcus aureus. This enzyme stoichiometrically produced free CoA-SH, which was analyzed quantitatively with Ellman’s test using 2-nitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). The 2-nitro-5-thiobenzoate (TNB2-) produced showed a strong yellowish color with maximum absorbance at 412 nm. We also constructed a new pBCMAT plasmid series for CAT assays in bifidobacteria to evaluate promoters and terminators. Analyses using promoters from Bifidobacterium longum NCC2705 indicated that the CAT assay using these promoters is quantitative, has a wide measurement range, and is stable. In addition, this assay was useful for several bifidobacterial species, including B. longum, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium adolescentis. Compared with evoglow-Bs2, a fluorescent protein used under anaerobic conditions, the CAT assay showed about 0.25% background activity. In analyses using this CAT assay, we identified 11 promoters and 12 terminators of B. longum NCC2705. The genes encoding ribosomal proteins, elongation factors, and transfer RNAs possessed strong promoters, and terminators that include strong stem-loops and poly-U tails structures tended to show high activities. Although the abovementioned promoters made stronger contributions to expression activities than the terminators, the maximum fold difference in the activities among the tested terminators was approximately 17-fold. Modification of the -10 box and 5’-UTR in the promoters and the structure around the stem-loop in the terminators affected expression levels. These results suggest that the CAT assay is useful for various analyses of bifidobacterial gene expression.
The purpose of this study was to establish reference ranges for gut microbial indices by collecting real-world Japanese microbiome data from a Mykinso cohort. Although several large cohort studies have focused on the human gut microbiome, large cohort studies of the gut microbiome from Japanese populations are scarce, especially from healthy or non-diseased individuals. We collected stool samples and original survey lifestyle information from 5,843 Japanese individuals through the Mykinso gut microbiome testing service. From the obtained 16S rRNA sequence data derived from stool samples, the ratio and distribution of each taxon were analyzed. The relationship between different epidemiological attributes and gut microbial indicators were statistically analyzed. The qualitative and quantitative indicators of these common gut microbiota were confirmed to be strongly correlated with age, sex, constipation/diarrhea, and history of lifestyle-related diseases. Therefore, we set up a healthy sub-cohort that controlled for these attribute factors and defined reference ranges from the distribution of gut microbial index in that population. Taken together, these results show that the gut microbiota of Japanese people had high beta-diversity, with no single “typical” gut microbiota type. We believe that the reference ranges for the gut microbial indices obtained in this study can be new reference values for determining the balance and health of the gut microbiota of an individual. In the future, it is necessary to clarify the clinical validity of these reference values by comparing them with a clinical disease cohort.