Gut Microbiota Alteration After Long-Term Consumption of Probiotics in the Elderly

  • Renyuan Gao
  • Xiaohui Zhang
  • Linsheng Huang
  • Rongrong Shen
  • Huanlong Qin


Gut microbiota has been proven to be of crucial importance in maintaining human health. However, the microbiota profile changes with aging, while the loss of microbiota diversity and the alterations in the optimal composition and quantity of beneficial microbes are believed to increase the risk of many diseases. Although the short-term modulatory impact of probiotics on gut microbiota has been revealed in various studies, no studies focused on longer time consumption of probiotics have been demonstrated. In this study, we found that microbial diversity in the probiotic group was similar to that in the control. We identified a panel of microbiota changes, such as Blautia (10.24 vs. 3.76%, P = 0.006), Streptococcus (7.38 vs. 1.16%, P = 0.004), and Enterococcus (0.13 vs. 0.00%, P = 0.030) were more abundant in the probiotic group. Faecalibacterium, a genus containing anti-inflammatory property, also had a higher abundance in the probiotic group in the gut. The microbiota architecture in the different probiotic dose groups was also revealed. No statistical difference was observed in regard to the short-chain fatty acid concentration between the groups. High-dose intake of probiotics resulted in lower microbial richness. The profile of inflammatory factors indicated that only the level of IL-1β was higher in the probiotic population. Taken together, our study demonstrated that the long-time intake of probiotics caused significant changes in the gut microbiota structure, including an increase in the composition of beneficial microorganisms, which might contribute to the maintenance of host health and homeostasis of microenvironment. More prospective cohorts were needed to illustrate the influences of probiotics on the gut microbiota.


Probiotics Gut microbiota Time duration Short-chain fatty acid 



We wish to acknowledge the great cooperation of the individuals who voluntarily participated in this study. We also thank major biomedicine technology co., LTD for their technical assistance.

Author Contributions

The experiments were conceived and designed by H.L.Q. The study was performed by R.Y.G. and R.R.S. The data was analyzed by R.Y.G., X.H.Z, and L.S.H. Finally, R.Y.G. and H.L.Q. were responsible for writing the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by projects from the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 81730102, 81230057, 81472262), Emerging Cutting-Edge Technology Joint Research projects of Shanghai (nos. SHDC12017112, 12012106), and Tongji University Subject Pilot Program (no. 162385).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

This study has been approved by the ethical committees of Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital.

Informed Consent

All the participants provided informed consents.

Supplementary material

12602_2018_9403_Fig6_ESM.gif (96 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1

The rarefaction curves of the detected samples. (GIF 96.1 kb)

12602_2018_9403_MOESM1_ESM.tiff (6.5 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 6631 kb)
12602_2018_9403_Fig7_ESM.gif (56 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2

The rarefaction estimation by shannon of all the samples. (GIF 55.8 kb)

12602_2018_9403_MOESM2_ESM.tif (3.9 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 3964 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tenth People’s Hospital affiliated to Tongji University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Research Institute of Intestinal DiseasesTongji University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Medical College of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina

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