Probiotics Enhance The Bone Health In Healthy Mice, A New Study Says

Probiotics Enhance The Bone Health In Healthy Mice, A New Study Says

A widely used probiotic stimulates bone formation in young female mice, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Immunity. In response to treatment with “Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG” (LGG) probiotics, some intestinal bacteria that produced a metabolite called “butyrate,” can enhance bones, including the regulatory T cells.

“The importance of the study is that probiotics are, at least in mice, an effective means of increasing bone density,” says the study’s lead author, Roberto Pacifici, of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in the USA. “Clinical trials are underway to validate the efficacy of probiotics in humans,” he adds.

Fractures due to osteoporosis can have devastating consequences. For example, complications from hip fractures lead to mortality rates of 24 percent to 30 percent in the first year after injury and nearly 50 percent of permanent disability rates.

“Because their mechanism of action in the bone is unknown, they are considered some alternative, esoteric, unproven treatment,” Robert Pacifici says. “Our goal was to identify a biological mechanism of action of probiotics, a mechanism that makes sense to traditional scientists, with the hope that this will make probiotics a conventional treatment.”

Probiotics Enhance The Bone Health In Healthy Mice

In the new study, Pacifici and his colleagues discovered that oral supplementation with LGG for four weeks increased bone formation in female mice by stimulating the growth of butyrate-producing intestinal bacteria, including Clostridia. In particular, LGG supplementation did not elevate bone mass in mice raised in a germ-free environment, suggesting that this probiotic exerts its effects indirectly through the metabolic activity of other microbes that typically inhabit the gut.

“We were surprised by the power of the intestinal microbiome to regulate bones and the complexity of the mechanism of action of probiotics,” says Pacifici. “In general, there is great interest in the concept that intestinal bacteria regulate the function of distant organs, but how this happens is not known. We describe a detailed mechanism by which changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiome induced by probiotics affect a remote system such as the skeleton.”

“The controversies about probiotics are: do they really work and which is the best? We show that they really work in the bone. You don’t know which is the best,” {acofoco says.

However, the emerging concept is that the number of bacteria in a dose of probiotic can be as significant or even more important than the type of probiotic used. It’s possible that the response to probiotics is influenced by mouse species, gender, and age. In the future, researchers will explore the role of the microbiota in bone diseases other than osteoporosis. They also plan to determine whether butyrate supplementation could prevent and treat osteoporosis and whether probiotics would be able to improve skeletal health in various disease states.


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