Researchers identify bacteria that promote metabolic and mental health

Researchers identify bacteria that promote metabolic and mental health
B. longum APC1472 increases Bifidobacterium abundance without impacting the overall composition of the gut microbiota in humans. The gut microbiota was assesed at the beginning (pre) and end of the study (12 weeks, past). Alpha (A-C) and beta diversity (D) were investigated, as wel as the bacterial genera present (E-F). Microbial taxa were centre-log-transformed (CLR). Significant differences between pre and post were anlysed using the Mann-Whitney U test, whereas treatment differences were analysed using an ANCOVA controlling for sex and pre-intervention Bifidobacterium abundance. Data are depicted as boxplot or scatter dot plot, where the dots depict individual datapoints, with n= 48 for the placebo group and n = 74 for the B. longum APC1472 treatment group. * indicates a significant effect (*p<0.05, **p<0.01).

Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and most of the world's population now live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. Obesity represents a major health challenge because it substantially increases the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. In recent years, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has soared worldwide with approximately 462 million individuals affected, corresponding to 6.28% of the world's population.

Dr. Harriet Schellekens and colleagues, at the APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre in UCC, identified Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 to be an important regulator of apetite and metabolism during .

In a group of healthy people who were overweight or obese, this research shows that the novel bacterial strain Bifidobacterium Longum APC1472 reduced their fasting blood glucose levels and could normalize active levels of both ghrelin, a hormone that signals hunger, and the , both of which are altered in . While no effect was seen in reducing in humans, initial research showed that the bacterium reduced weight gain and fat depot size in obese mice.

"This study shows that B. longum APC1472 has potential to be developed as a valuable probiotic supplement to reduce blood glucose, which is important in the development of conditions such as type 2 diabetes," according to Dr. Harriet Schellekens, leader of the research and joint senior author of the study. "This study is the first of its kind demonstrating the translation of a Bifidobacterium longum species, B. longum APC1472, from initial laboratory studies through pre- to a human intervention study."

It has been known for a long time that stress and obesity are linked. While stress can suppress appetite in the short-term, chronic stress is known to increase cortisol which increases appetite; hence the phrase "stress eating." This research shows that B. Longum APC1472 plays an important role in keeping our hunger hormone, ghrelin, in check, and lowers our hormone, cortisol.

"This study was a real team effort and delivers important translational evidence that probiotic supplementation can indeed be useful in the fight against obesity," said Prof John Cryan, joint senior-author of the study. "Moreover, the findings reinforce the concept of the link between the gut microbiome, metabolic disease and mental health, which is a growing area of research."

Prof Timothy Dinan, Chief Investigator on the clinical part of the study, commented "The translational findings are solid and the modulation of cortisol awakening response, warrant further investigation of this B. longum APC1472 and its potential use as a psychobiotic to improve mental health."

The research is published today in eBioMedicine.

More information: Harriet Schellekens, et al. Bifidobacterium longum counters the effects of obesity: Partial successful translation from rodent to human. eBioMedicine, Dec 18 2020.
Journal information: EBioMedicine

Citation: Researchers identify bacteria that promote metabolic and mental health (2020, December 18) retrieved 7 December 2022 from
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