Microbial Ecology

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 1063–1074 | Cite as

Effects of Lactogen 13, a New Probiotic Preparation, on Gut Microbiota and Endocrine Signals Controlling Growth and Appetite of Oreochromis niloticus Juveniles

  • Gioacchini Giorgia
  • Ciani Elia
  • Pessina Andrea
  • Cecchini Cinzia
  • Silvi Stefania
  • Rodiles Ana
  • Merrifield L. Daniel
  • Olivotto Ike
  • Carnevali OlianaEmail author
Host Microbe Interactions


In the present study, Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus was used as experimental model to study the molecular effects of a new probiotic preparation, Lactogen 13 (Lactobacillus rhamnosus IMC 501® encapsulated with vegetable fat matrices by spray chilling and further indicated as probiotic microgranules), on growth and appetite during larval development. Probiotic microgranules were administered for 30 days to tilapia larvae starting from first feeding. Molecular analysis using high-throughput sequencing revealed that the probiotic could populate the gastrointestinal tract and modulate the microbial communities by significantly increasing the proportion of Lactobacillus as well as reducing the proportion of potential pathogens such as members of the Family Microbacteriaceae, Legionellaceae, and Weeksellaceae. Morphometric analysis evidenced that body weight and total length significantly increased after probiotic treatment. This increase coincided with the modulation of genes belonging to the insulin-like growth factors (igfs) system and genes involved on myogenesis, such as myogenin, and myogenic differentiation (myod). Alongside the improvement of growth, an increase of feed intake was evidenced at 40 days post-fertilization (dpf) in treated larvae. Gene codifying for signals belonging to the most prominent systems involved in appetite regulation, such as neuropeptide y (npy), agouti-related protein (agrp), leptin, and ghrelin were significantly modulated. These results support the hypothesis that gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota changes due to probiotic administration modulate growth and appetite control, activating the endocrine system of tilapia larvae.


Probiotic Microbiome IGF Leptin Ghrelin 



The authors thank Prof. A. Cresci (Synbiotec Srl, Camerino, Italy) and Dr. L. Bortolotto (Sintal Srl, Isola Vicentina Italy), who kindly provided expertise, probiotic strain, and facilities to produce the prototype of Lactogen 13. This study was supported by Mi.S.E. N. 2201 to Oliana Carnevali.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’AmbienteUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly
  2. 2.Scuola di Bioscienze e Medicina VeterinariaUniversità degli Studi di CamerinoCamerinoItaly
  3. 3.Aquatic Animal Nutrition and Health Research Group, School of Biological and Marine SciencesPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

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