Effects on weight gain and gut microbiota in rats given bacterial supplements and a high-energy-dense diet from fetal life through to 6 months of age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to assess the long-term effects of a high-energy dense diet, supplemented with Lactobacillus plantarum (Lp) or Escherichia coli (Ec) on weight gain, fattening and the gut microbiota in rats. Since the mother’s dietary habits can influence offspring physiology, the dietary regimes started with the dams at pregnancy and through lactation, and continued with the offspring for six months. The weight gain of group Lp was lower than for groups C (control) and Ec (P=0•086). More retroperitoneal adipose tissue (P=0•030) and higher plasma leptin (P=0•035) were seen in group Ec compared to group Lp. The viable count of Enterobacteriaceae was higher in group Ec than in group Lp (P=0•019) and when all animals were compared, Enterobacteriaceae correlated positively with body weight (r=0•428, P=0•029). Bacterial diversity was lower in group Ec than in groups C (P=<0•05) and Lp (P=<0•05). Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia dominated in all groups, but Bacteroidetes were more prevalent in group C than in groups Lp (P=0•036) and Ec (P=0•056). The same five bacterial families dominated the microbiota of groups Ec and C, and four of these were also present in group Lp. The other five families dominating in group Lp were not found in any of the other groups. Multivariate data analysis pointed in the same directions as the univariate statistics. Our results suggest that supplementation of L. plantarum or E. coli can have long-term effects on the composition of the intestinal microbiota, as well as on weight gain and fattening.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • body weight, probiotics, biochemical markers, gut microbiota, high-energy dense diet
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-895
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Surgery Research Unit (013242220), Functional Zoology (432112239), Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (011001300)

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