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Comparative study of probiotic effects of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains on cholesterol levels, liver morphology and the gut microbiota in obese mice



Microbiome-modulating interventions are promising for treatment and prevention of metabolic syndrome. The number of probiotic strains demonstrated ability to decrease cholesterol level in vivo, however, it was poorly confirmed in a clinical setting. The aim was to study the effects of L. acidophilus IMV B-7279, L. casei IMV B-7280, B. animalіs VKL and B. animalіs VKB separately and in various compositions on the level of serum cholesterol, gut microbiota contents and liver morphology on a high-calorie-induced obesity model in BALB/c mice.

Materials and methods

We used for the study female BALB/c mice 6–8 weeks old (18–24 g). Experimental animals were fed by a fat-enriched diet (FED), and 8 experimental groups were formed (12 mice in each group) to test strains of probiotic bacteria L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV B-7281, L. casei IMV B-7280, B. animalіs VKL and B. animalіs VKB and compositions. We used ultrasound for in vivo assessment of the liver and visceral (mesenteric) fat size. In the blood serum of the obese mice, the level of cholesterol was estimated. The liver morphology and gut microbiota of obese mice were studied.


We revealed that after treatment with all of the studied probiotic bacteria and compositions of B. animalis VKL/B. animalis VKB/L. casei IMV B-7280, the weight of obese mice decreased, and cholesterol and its fraction levels in serum were reduced. The size of the liver slightly decreased after treatment with L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV B-7281, B. аnimalis VKB or probiotic compositions; we observed reduction of the mesenteric fat size after injection of all these probiotic bacteria (separately) and probiotic compositions. We defined the strain-dependent effects on serum lipid profiles, liver morphology and the gut microbiota. The B. animalis VKL/B. animalis VKB/L. casei IMV B-7280 composition effectively recovered the liver morphological structure of obese mice. The number of Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp. and coliform bacteria increased, the number of staphylococci and streptococci reduced, and the number of microscopic fungi significantly decreased in the gut of obese mice after treatment with L. casei IMV B-7280, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV B-7281, B. animalis (separately) or their compositions.


L. casei IMV B-7280 (separately) and a composition of B. animalis VKL/B. animalis VKB/L. casei IMV B-7280 are effective at decreasing the weight of obese mice, decreasing cholesterol level, restoring the liver morphology and beneficially modulating the gut microbiome in high-calorie-induced obesity.

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The study was conducted with the support of the State Agency on Science, Innovations and Informatisation of Ukraine.

Author’s information

RVB, M.D., Ph.D. is a researcher of the Inteferon Department of Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a medical doctor in the Clinical Hospital ‘Pheophania’ of the State Affairs Department, and National Representative of the European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine (EPMA) in Ukraine.

Professor LML, D.Sc., LPB Ph.D., VVM Ph.D., and OVN Ph.D. are researchers in the Inteferon Department of Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

OMD Ph.D. is a medical doctor at JSC SPC ‘DiaprofMed’.

Professor MYS, Ph.D., D.Sci. is a corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the director of the Interferon Department of Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, NAS of Ukraine.


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Authors and Affiliations



RVB suggested the idea and design of the study, participated in experiments, did the ultrasound survey, study analysis, prepared the discussion, formulated future outlooks, and performed the second and final article drafting.

LML, LPB and VVM performed the experiments on animals and analysis of the study.

LML and LPB prepared the first draft of the manuscript, did the literature analysis, interpreted the results, and performed the statistical analysis.

OVN did the liver morphology study.

OMD participated in analysis of the study.

MYS did the organization, manuscript revision, data interpretation, and contributed to the overall development of the studied topic.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rostyslav V. Bubnov.

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Authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Bubnov, R.V., Babenko, L.P., Lazarenko, L.M. et al. Comparative study of probiotic effects of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains on cholesterol levels, liver morphology and the gut microbiota in obese mice. EPMA Journal 8, 357–376 (2017).

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  • Predictive preventive personalized medicine
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Cholesterol
  • Liver
  • Gut microbiota
  • Mouse model: mesenteric fat
  • Ultrasound