Endogenous reactive oxygen species (ROS) are by-products of the aerobic metabolism of cells and have an important signalling role as secondary messengers in various physiological processes, including cell growth and development. However, the excessive production of ROS, as well as the exposure to exogenous ROS, can cause protein oxidation, lipid peroxidation and DNA damages leading to cell injuries. ROS accumulation has been associated to the development of health disorders such as neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. We report that spores of strain SF185, a human isolate of Bacillus megaterium, have antioxidant activity on Caco-2 cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide and on a murine model of dextran sodium sulfate-induced oxidative stress. In both model systems spores exert a protective state due to their scavenging action: on cells, spores reduce the amount of intracellular ROS, while in vivo the pre-treatment with spores protects mice from the chemically-induced damages. Overall, our results suggest that treatment with SF185 spores prevents or reduces the damages caused by oxidative stress. The human origin of SF185, its strong antioxidant activity, and its protective effects led to propose the spore of this strain as a new probiotic for gut health.
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