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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 380316, 9 pages
Research Article

Cholesterol Assimilation by Lactobacillus Probiotic Bacteria: An In Vitro Investigation

1Biomedical Technology and Cell Therapy Research Laboratory, Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Physiology, and Artificial Cells and Organs Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 3775 University Street, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2B4
2Micropharma Limited, 4200 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Unit 409, Montreal, QC, Canada H2W 2R2
3Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 0C7

Received 7 February 2014; Accepted 20 August 2014; Published 11 September 2014

Academic Editor: Esteban Martinez

Copyright © 2014 Catherine Tomaro-Duchesneau et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Excess cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), an important cause of mortality worldwide. Current CVD therapeutic measures, lifestyle and dietary interventions, and pharmaceutical agents for regulating cholesterol levels are inadequate. Probiotic bacteria have demonstrated potential to lower cholesterol levels by different mechanisms, including bile salt hydrolase activity, production of compounds that inhibit enzymes such as 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A, and cholesterol assimilation. This work investigates 11 Lactobacillus strains for cholesterol assimilation. Probiotic strains for investigation were selected from the literature: Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 11951, L. reuteri NCIMB 701359, L. reuteri NCIMB 702655, L. reuteri NCIMB 701089, L. reuteri NCIMB 702656, Lactobacillus fermentum NCIMB 5221, L. fermentum NCIMB 8829, L. fermentum NCIMB 2797, Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103 GG, Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 314, and Lactobacillus plantarum ATCC 14917. Cholesterol assimilation was investigated in culture media and under simulated intestinal conditions. The best cholesterol assimilator was L. plantarum ATCC 14917 (15.18 ± 0.55 mg/1010 cfu) in MRS broth. L. reuteri NCIMB 701089 assimilated over 67% (2254.70 ± 63.33 mg/1010 cfu) of cholesterol, the most of all the strains, under intestinal conditions. This work demonstrates that probiotic bacteria can assimilate cholesterol under intestinal conditions, with L. reuteri NCIMB 701089 showing great potential as a CVD therapeutic.