• chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • forced swim test;
  • oxido-nitrosative stress;
  • probiotic loaded alginate beads;
  • therapeutic option;
  • TNF-α


Background  In recent years the interface between neuropsychiatry and gastroenterology has converged in to a new discipline referred to as enteric neuroscience. Implications of brain–gut communication in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders indicate a possible role of suitably packaged/delivered probiotics as newer therapeutic options. In the present study probable role of per-oral administration of free Lactobacillus acidophilus (LAB) and LAB loaded alginate beads in attenuation of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were evaluated.

Methods  Chronic fatigue syndrome following physical fatigue was induced in rats by forcing them to swim (forced swim test; FST) in water till exhaustion, after weighing them down with 10% their body weight, daily for 28 days. Immobility (I) and postswim fatigue time (PSF) were taken as suitable markers. Free LAB and LAB loaded floating beads (FBs) were administered, from 21 to 28 days.

Key Results  Immobility and PSF were found to increase considerably in FST rats (665 ± 22 s and 196 ± 6 s) as compared with the naïve (32 ± 7 s and 22 ± 2 s) at 20 days, establishing severe fatigue like behavior. FST control group exhibited significant (P < 0.05) hypertrophy of spleen, hypotrophy of thymus, and increased oxido-nitrosative stress in brain and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels in serum. Treatment with LAB and LAB FBs significantly decreased I and PSF and attenuated (P < 0.05) oxido-nitrosative stress and TNF-α levels. Spleen and thymus were also restored to their original size in this group.

Conclusions & Inferences  The findings suggest a valuable therapeutic role of LAB especially when incorporated into alginate beads for the treatment of CFS.