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Effects of ewe’s milk yogurt (whole and semi-skimmed) and cow’s milk yogurt on inflammation markers and gut microbiota of subjects with borderline-high plasma cholesterol levels: a crossover study



Ewe’s milk yogurt is richer in proteins, minerals and short- and medium-chain fatty acids compared to cow’s milk yogurt. We aimed to evaluate the effects of cow’s milk yogurt (CW, 3.0% fat), semi-skimmed (ES, 2.8% fat) and whole ewe’s milk yogurts (EW, 5.8% fat) on inflammatory markers and gut microbiota in subjects with borderline-high plasma cholesterol.


30 adults (16 women) were randomized into a crossover study to consume 250 g/yogurt/day during three 5-week periods (4-week washouts). Plasma insulin, leptin, adhesion molecules, cytokines and gut microbiota composition (qPCR) were analysed. Rates of change were used to assess treatment effects both in the whole group and in subgroups of subjects with different cholesterol/HDL-c ratio (Cho-I group A: the top 6 women and 4 men values; Cho-I group B: remaining subjects).


The yogurts showed no different effects on the inflammatory biomarkers or the microbiota of the whole group. However, ICAM-1 and P-selectin rates of change were lower after EW compared to CW and ES, respectively, in subjects of the Cho-I group A (P = 0.047 and P = 0.020). Women of this group showed lower MCP-1 rates of change after EW compared to ES and CW (P = 0.028, both). Blautia coccoides–Eubacterium rectale decreased in women of the Cho-I group A during EW vs. ES (P = 0.028).


Ewe’s yogurt effects on inflammatory markers and microbiota were not different from those after cow’s yogurt, but the attenuation of some inflammatory biomarkers with ewe’s whole-milk yogurt in subjects with the highest TC/HDL-c deserves further study.

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Lactic acid bacteria


Cardiovascular risk


Saturated fatty acids


Short-chain fatty acids


Medium-chain fatty acids


Low-density lipoprotein LCFA Long-chain fatty acids


Body mass index


Quantitative (or real-time) polymerase chain reaction


Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1




Tumor necrosis factor-α


Intercellular adhesion molecule-1


Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1


Total cholesterol/HDL-c ratio


Toll-like receptors


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This research was financed by MINECO Agro Technological Institute (ITACyL) and INIA (National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology) through the project RTA2012-00113-CO2-01 and co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund. It also received complementary funding from Quesos Artesanos de Letur S.A. Natalia García-González is the recipient of predoctoral contract FPI-INIA-19-2014, financed by INIA and the European Social Fund. The authors would like to thank Christian Hansen (Isabel López-Viñas) for kindly supplying the starter cultures and Irene Santiago for technical support.

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Correspondence to Esther Nova.

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The current project was approved by the Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda, (Madrid, Spain) (Record no 305, dated 9 December 2014) and the Bioethics Committee of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC). The study was carried out according to the Declaration of Helsinki (59ª General Assembly, Seúl, Corea, October 2008) and the Good Clinical Practices. Signed informed consent was obtained from all volunteers.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Redondo, N., García-González, N., Diaz-Prieto, L.E. et al. Effects of ewe’s milk yogurt (whole and semi-skimmed) and cow’s milk yogurt on inflammation markers and gut microbiota of subjects with borderline-high plasma cholesterol levels: a crossover study. Eur J Nutr 58, 1113–1124 (2019).

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  • Ewe’s milk yogurts
  • Healthy adults
  • Gut microbiota
  • Inflammation