The prevalence of vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) carrier-state has been increasing in patients of intensive care unit and it would be a public health threat. Different research groups conducted decolonizing VRE with probiotic and the results were controversial. Therefore, a systemic approach to search for the probiotic species capable of decolonizing VRE is necessary. Thus, VRE was co-cultured with ten probiotic species. The fluctuations of each bacterial population were analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing. Microbial network analysis (MNA) was exploited to identify the most critical species in inhibiting the VRE population. The MNA-selected probiotic cocktail was then validated for its efficacy in inhibiting VRE, decolonizing VRE from Caco-2 cells via three approaches: exclusion, competition, and displacement. Finally, the expression of VRE virulence genes after co-incubation with the probiotic cocktail were analyzed with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The MNA-selected probiotic cocktail includes Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic combination significantly reduces the population of co-cultured VRE and prevents VRE from binding to Caco-2 cells by down-regulating several host-adhesion genes of VRE. Our results suggested the potential of this four-strain probiotic cocktail in clinical application for the decolonization of VRE in human gut.
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