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The effect of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis) on the accumulation of lead in rat brains


Lead is a toxic metal present in different concentrations in a wide variety of food products. Exposure to lead, even to low levels, causes acute and chronic toxicities. Lead can cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the nervous system. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when used in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Although a recent study demonstrated that the studied bacteria have a protective effect against acute lead toxicity, no research has been found that shows the long-term impact of these bacteria in vivo. The current study surveyed the protective effects of two species of probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, that are most widely used in many functional foods against oral lead exposure (4 weeks) in rat brains. The results revealed that, at the end of the second week of chronic exposure to lead and probiotic bacteria, the lowest level of lead belonged to the Lactobacillus group. At the end of the fourth week, the lowest amount of lead was related to the group receiving both types of probiotics. With the physiological benefits of probiotic consumption, the bacterial solution in this study did not show high efficacy in reducing brain lead concentrations.

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This paper was extracted from a MSc. thesis at Zanjan University of Medical Sciences. The researchers highly appreciate the cooperation of the Research Council of Zanjan University of Medical Sciences for financial supports. They also want to express their gratitude for the kind cooperation of all those who assisted in this research.

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Correspondence to Mehran Mohseni.

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Responsible Editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Zanjani, S.Y., Eskandari, M.R., Kamali, K. et al. The effect of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis) on the accumulation of lead in rat brains. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 1700–1705 (2017).

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  • Lead
  • Probiotic
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Brain