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Effect of Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Strain Shirota on Improvement in Depressive Symptoms, and Its Association with Abundance of Actinobacteria in Gut Microbiota

  • 2021-05-10
  • Microorganisms 9(5)
    • Machiko Otaka
    • H. Kikuchi-Hayakawa
    • Junpei Ogura
    • H. Ishikawa
    • Y. Yomogida
    • M. Ota
    • S. Hidese
    • Ikki Ishida
    • M. Aida
    • K. Matsuda
    • M. Kawai
    • S. Yoshida
    • H. Kunugi


We previously reported lower counts of lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium in the gut microbiota of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), compared with healthy controls. This prompted us to investigate the possible efficacy of a probiotic strain, Lacticaseibacillus paracasei strain Shirota (LcS; basonym, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota; daily intake of 8.0 × 1010 colony-forming units), in alleviating depressive symptoms. A single-arm trial was conducted on 18 eligible patients with MDD or bipolar disorder (BD) (14 females and 4 males; 15 MDD and 3 BD), assessing changes in psychiatric symptoms, the gut microbiota, and biological markers for intestinal permeability and inflammation, over a 12-week intervention period. Depression severity, evaluated by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, was significantly alleviated after LcS treatment. The intervention-associated reduction of depressive symptoms was associated with the gut microbiota, and more pronounced when Bifidobacterium and the Atopobium clusters of the Actinobacteria phylum were maintained at higher counts. No significant changes were observed in the intestinal permeability or inflammation markers. Although it was difficult to estimate the extent of the effect of LcS treatment alone, the results indicated that it was beneficial to alleviate depressive symptoms, partly through its association with abundance of Actinobacteria in the gut microbiota.

Keywords: Actinobacteria; bipolar disorder; gut microbiota; major depressive disorder; probiotic.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Lpc-37Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial

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