The microbiome plays an important role in lipid metabolism but how the introduction of probiotic communities affects host lipid metabolism is poorly understood. Using a multidisciplinary approach we addressed this knowledge gap using the zebrafish model by coupling high-throughput sequencing with biochemical, molecular and morphological analysis to evaluate the changes in the intestine. Analysis of bacterial 16S libraries revealed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus was able to modulate the gut microbiome of zebrafish larvae, elevating the abundance of Firmicutes sequences and reducing the abundance of Actinobacteria. The gut microbiome changes modulated host lipid processing by inducing transcriptional down-regulation of genes involved in cholesterol and triglycerides metabolism (fit2, agpat4, dgat2, mgll, hnf4α, scap, and cck) concomitantly decreasing total body cholesterol and triglyceride content and increasing fatty acid levels. L. rhamnosus treatment also increased microvilli and enterocyte lengths and decreased lipid droplet size in the intestinal epithelium. These changes resulted in elevated zebrafish larval growth. This integrated system investigation demonstrates probiotic modulation of the gut microbiome, highlights a novel gene network involved in lipid metabolism, provides an insight into how the microbiome regulates molecules involved in lipid metabolism, and reveals a new potential role for L. rhamnosus in the treatment of lipid disorders.



Publication Date


Publication Title

Sci Rep



Organisational Unit

School of Biological and Marine Sciences


Animals, Biodiversity, Cholesterol, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Gene Expression Regulation, Intestinal Mucosa, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus, Lipid Metabolism, Metagenome, Probiotics, Transcription, Genetic, Triglycerides, Zebrafish