School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800, Penang, Malaysia; USM-RIKEN International Centre for Ageing Science (URICAS), Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia. Electronic address: [Email]
Aging is closely associated with altered gut function and composition, in which elderly were reported with reduced gut microbiota diversity and increased incidence of age-related diseases. Probiotics have been shown to exert beneficial health-promoting effects through modulation of intestinal microflora biodiversity, thus the effects of probiotics administration on D-galactose (D-gal) senescence-induced rat were evaluated based on the changes in gut microbiota and metabolomic profiles. Upon senescence induction, the ratio of Firmicutes/ Bacteroidetes was significantly lowered, while treatment with Lactobacillus helveticus OFS 1515 and L. fermentum DR9 increased the ratio at the phylum level (P < 0.05). Study on the genus level showed that L. paracasei OFS 0291 and L. helveticus OFS 1515 administration reduced Bacteroides, which are prominently opportunistic pathogens while L. fermentum DR9 treated rats promoted the proliferation of Lactobacillus compared to the aged rats (P < 0.05). Probiotics treatment did not alter fecal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile, but an increase in acetate was observed in the D-gal rats. The analysis of fecal water-soluble metabolites showed that D-gal induced senescence caused great impact on amino acids metabolism such as urocanic acid, citrulline, cystamine and 5-oxoproline, which could serve as potential aging biomarkers. Treatment with probiotics ameliorated these metabolites in a strain-specific manner, whereby L. fermentum DR9 promoted antioxidative effect through upregulation of oxoproline, whereas both L. paracasei OFS 0291 and L. helveticus OFS 1515 restored the levels of reducing sugars, arabinose and ribose similar to the young rats. D-gal induced senescence did cause significant immunological alteration in the colon of aged rats however, all probiotic strains demonstrated immunomodulatory properties as L. paracasei OFS 0291, L. helveticus OFS 1515 and L. fermentum DR9 alleviated proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-1β as well as IL-4 compared to the aged control (P < 0.05). Our study highlights the potential of probiotics as an anti-aging therapy through healthy gut modulation.