L-citrulline enriched fermented milk with Lactobacillus helveticus attenuates dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) induced colitis in mice

Sze Wing Ho, Hani El-Nezami, Harold Corke, Chun Sing Ho, Nagendra P Shah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases that causes worldwide suffering. L. helveticus is a probiotic that can enhance intestinal barrier function via alleviation of excessive inflammatory response. Citrulline, a functional amino acid, has been reported to stimulate muscle synthesis and to function with a prebiotic-like action with certain Lactobacillus strains. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential synergistic effect of combining L. helveticus and citrulline on protection against damage induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in a mouse model. 6-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were fed with DSS water and randomly divided for administering with different milk treatments: 1) plain milk (control or DSS control), 2) 1% (w/v) citrulline enriched milk (Cit_milk), 3) milk fermented with L. helveticus (LHFM) and 4) DSS+milk fermented with L. helveticus with 1% (w/v) citrulline (Cit_LHFM). The treatment effects on the survival and macroscopic and microscopic signs were examined. All treatments presented different degrees of protective effects on attenuating the damages induced by DSS. All treatments reduced the body weight loss, disease activity index (DAI), histological scores, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression (IL-6, TNF-α and IFN-γ) and production (IL-4) (all P <0.05) and the tight junction (TJ) protein (zonula occluden-1 (ZO-1) expression. LHFM and Cit_LHFM improved survival rate (both at P<0.05). Particularly, Cit_LHFM showed greater effects on protecting the damages induced by DSS, especially in ameliorating colonic permeability, TJ protein (ZO-1, occludin and claudin-1) expression and distribution as well as in reducing IL-4 and IL-17 expression (all P <0.05). Our findings suggested that the combination of and citrulline had significant synergistic effect on protecting against injury from DSS-induced colitis. Therefore, citrulline enriched L. helveticus fermented milk is suggested to be a potential therapy for treating IBD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108858
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • L-citrulline
  • L. helveticus
  • fermented milk with La. helveticus
  • Dextran sulfate sodium induced colitis
  • inflammation
  • tight junction proteins


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