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Article Summary on the Effects of Probiotics in Mice
Article Name
The Effect of Prebiotics and Probiotics on Body Weight, Large Intestine Indices, and Fecal Bile
Acid Profile in Wild Type and IL10-/- Mice
Shiu-Ming Kuo, Patricia M. Merhige and Lee R. Hagey
Probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms that when taken orally as supplements have been
proven to increase digestion and fight the effects of harmful bacteria in the large intestine of
mammals. Prebiotics are sugars that probiotics thrive on by encouraging the potential for a larger
populace of beneficial bacteria. In the article, “The Effect of Prebiotics and Probiotics on Body
Weight, Large Intestine Indices, and Fecal Bile Acid Profile in Wild Type and IL10-/- Mice” it
states that “previous studies have suggested roles of probiotics and prebiotics on body weight
management and intestinal function, (Shiu-Ming Kuo). In this, study researchers theorized that
there quite possibly would be some notable outcome on food consumption and body mass (ShiuMing Kuo). There are several categories of probiotics. This study in particular focuses solely on
the probiotic Bifidobacterium. Mice were contained individually in disease free environments,
divided into groups by gene type and feeding categories for the study, and acclimated prior to
starting the feeding experiments. Once the study started, food was available for consumption for
the duration of the study. The Mouse food consisted of a plant base to which sugar as the
prebiotic and probiotics were added only to their perspective-feeding group. At the end of each
of the studies, the mice were examined, weighed and stool tested. Overall, researchers
determined that probiotics did increase exponentially the beneficial microorganisms in the gut,

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which conceivably would affect human health. Additionally the study implied that stool acid
testing might be a means for determining intestinal wellbeing because of the lack of left over
compounds found when stools were tested.
There is a proven connection between intestinal health and overall health. Digestion begins in the
stomach in a highly acidic environment then as food is broken-down, it moves to the small
intestine where most nutrients, but not all are absorbed. It is when remaining small food
particles, fiber and fatty acids pass into the large intestine along with water that probiotics
become beneficial as an aid to the already copious amounts of bacteria that exist in the large
intestine. Fruit and other plant fibers that are broken down easily by body processes into
monosaccharides and disaccharides are the prebiotics that the probiotics feed on. This particular
study used “…sucrose as the prebiotic and Bifidobacterium for the probiotic” (Shiu-Ming Kuo)
in the feeding experiments. The purpose of this study is to determine what correlation if any
these two substances would have on body and organ mass as well as stool chemistry and
intestinal microbes.
Materials and Methods:
The three and four-week studies used controlled sterile environments and two gene types of
mice, “both wild and null” (Shiu-Ming Kuo), which were confirmed and categorized, and by
DNA testing. It should be noted that the wild mice have a biological tendency toward intestinal
disease. Mice were the best test subjects because “the weight ratio between the mice and humans
could be determined at approximately 10(10)” (Shiu-Ming Kuo). The mice were isolated and
divided into four groups for each of the two studies. The studies duration for one test group was
three weeks and the other was for four weeks. Food for the study was manufactured using

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“Chicory root” (Shiu-Ming Kuo), as the base. Prebiotic and probiotic were then added to their
prospective formulas. All diets had comparable total calories. To ensure probiotic strength the
food was stored at a moderately low temperature and verified to have live cultures. After each of
the two studies was completed, the mice were killed and each mouse and its organs were
weighed, measured, and stool samples taken and studied using “mass spectrometry” (Shiu-Ming
Kuo), in order to identify the different chemical compounds that were excreted in the stool.
Results and Discussion:
The use of prebiotics and probiotics did not significantly alter body mass or change the food
intake of the mice. However, there was an increased breakdown of food particle that passed into
the large intestine and an increase of beneficial microorganisms in the intestinal tract.
Furthermore, the wild mice that were determined by gene typing to have a susceptibility to
intestinal illness had a notable lack of disease related inflammation. Overall, further investigation
is recommended to more fully understand the role prebiotics and probiotics play in intestinal

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Shiu-Ming Kuo, Patricia M. Merhige, Lee R. Hagey. Ebscohost connection. 21 March 2013. 7
November 2014 <>.