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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the main cause of end-stage liver disease. Probiotics have the potential effect of alleviating NAFLD. The aim of this study was to explore functional probiotics and their underlying mechanisms. The bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity in thirty-four strains was determined in vitro. Then, C57BL/6 mice were used to explore the effects of probiotics on NAFLD. Body weight and food intake were measured, and serum lipid concentrations, oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines levels were determined using commercial kits. The expressions of intestinal bile acid pathway genes were evaluated via real-time PCR. The results showed that Lactobacillus casei YRL577 and L. paracasei X11 had higher BSH activity. L. casei YRL577 significantly reduced liver weight and liver index and could regulate the levels of lipid metabolism, oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines as compared with L. paracasei X11. Furthermore, the results indicated that L. casei YRL577 up-regulated the mRNA levels of farnesoid X receptor and fibroblast growth factor 15, whereas down-regulated the mRNA level of apical Na-dependent bile acid transporter. These findings suggested that L. casei YRL577 modified genes in the intestinal bile acid pathway which might contribute to the alleviation of NAFLD.
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