The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus BFE5264 and Lactobacillus plantarum NR74 promote cholesterol efflux and suppress inflammation in THP-1 cells


Correspondence to: Myoung-Sool Do, School of Life Science, Handong Global University, Pohang, Gyeongbuk 791-708, Korea. E-mail:


BACKGROUND: The balance between the rate of cholesterol uptake/accumulation and the rate of cholesterol efflux is reflected in the amount of lipid accumulation in macrophages. Based upon the fact that liver X receptors (LXRs) play a role in cholesterol efflux, we studied the effects of probiotics on cholesterol efflux and anti-inflammatory action in macrophages. We confirmed changes in LXR expression by treatment of LXR-transfected CHO-K1 cells with lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and co-cultured THP-1 cells with LAB to investigate changes in cholesterol efflux and inflammation.

RESULTS: The experiment with CHO-K1 cells showed upregulation of LXR-β by LAB. Treatment of THP-1 cells with LAB promoted LXR expression in THP-1, which eventually led to significant upregulation of ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression. The treatment with live LAB also significantly promoted cholesterol efflux. LAB suppressed expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which resulted from activation of LXR.

CONCLUSION: Our study shows that Lactobacillus rhamnosus BFE5264 and Lactobacillus plantarum NR74 activated LXR and induced cholesterol efflux by promoting expression of ABCA1 and ABCG1. Both strains also suppressed proinflammatory cytokines including IL-1β and TNF-α. This study could account for the observation that LAB may block foam cell formation by cholesterol efflux and immune modulation. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry