Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are metabolites derived from the fermentation of dietary fibre by the gut microbiota, are important for host metabolic health. There is interest in probiotics for their beneficial effects on metabolic disorders, such as obesity, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we evaluated whether Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis GCL2505 (GCL2505), a probiotic strain capable of proliferating and increasing SCFA levels in the gut, exerts anti-metabolic syndrome effects via the SCFA receptor G protein-coupled receptor 43 (GPR43). A GCL2505 treatment suppressed body fat accumulation, improved glucose tolerance, and enhanced systemic fatty acid oxidation in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed wild type (WT) mice, whereas these effects were not observed in HFD-fed Gpr43 knockout (Gpr43−/−) mice. Caecal and plasma acetate levels were elevated by GCL2505 in WT and Gpr43−/− mice, but the negative correlation between plasma acetate levels and body fat accumulation was observed only in WT mice. We further demonstrated that GCL2505 suppressed insulin signalling in the adipose tissue via GPR43. These results suggested that increases in SCFA levels in response to GCL2505 enhance host energy expenditure, which decreases fat accumulation via activated GPR43.
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