Despite adequate scientific evidence of the potential benefits of probiotics to human health or disease prevention, their contribution to the growth of adipose tissue remains to be established. Four-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a diet containing skim milk (control diet) or skim milk fermented by Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LGSP diet) for 4 weeks. Their body weight gain, adipose tissue weight, adipocyte size distribution profile, blood and hepatic lipids, and serum leptin, glucose and adiponectin levels were determined. There was a significant reduction in average adipocyte size in mesenteric white adipose tissue (P = 0·004). Moreover, the rats fed the LGSP diet displayed greater numbers of small adipocytes from mesenteric and retroperitoneal adipose tissues than did those on the control diet. Whereas adiponectin concentrations did not differ between the groups, serum leptin concentrations were decreased to 32 % in the LGSP diet group compared with the control group. Concentrations of serum glucose and lipids, and liver lipids, except for the liver TAG level, were similar in the two groups. These results indicate a possible role for a fermented milk product in the regulation of adipose tissue growth.