Pepsin egg white hydrolysate modulates gut microbiota in Zucker obese rats
There is limited information that relates the intake of food-derived bioactive peptides and the gut microbiota. We have previously described a pepsin hydrolysate of egg white (EWH) that ameliorates fat accumulation and dyslipidemia, while reducing oxidative stress and inflammation markers in obese Zucker rats. The aim of this study was to associate the beneficial effects of EWH with gut microbiota changes in these animals. Obese Zucker rats received daily 750 mg kg−1 EWH in drinking water for 12 weeks and faeces were analysed for microbial composition and metabolic compounds in comparison with Zucker lean rats and obese controls. EWH supplementation modulated the microbiological characteristics of the obese rats to values similar to those of the lean rats. Specifically, counts of total bacteria, Lactobacillus/Enterococcus and Clostridium leptum in EWH fed obese Zucker rats were more similar to the lean rats than to the obese controls. Besides, feeding the obese Zucker rats with EWH reduced (P < 0.05) the faecal concentration of lactic acid. The physiological benefits of EWH in the improvement of obesity associated complications of Zucker rats could be associated with a more lean-like gut microbiota and a tendency to diminish total short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) production and associated obesity complications. The results warrant the use of pepsin egg white hydrolysate as a bioactive food ingredient.