Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Dec 28, 2016; 22(48): 10532-10544
Published online Dec 28, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i48.10532
Effects of Saccharomyces cerevisiae or boulardii yeasts on acute stress induced intestinal dysmotility
Christine West, Andrew M Stanisz, Annette Wong, Wolfgang A Kunze
Christine West, Andrew M Stanisz, Annette Wong, Wolfgang A Kunze, McMaster Brain-Body Institute, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, ON L8N 4A6, Canada
Wolfgang A Kunze, Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
Wolfgang A Kunze, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
Author contributions: West C, Stanisz AM and Wong A acquired and analyzed the data; Stanisz AM performed pilot experiments; West C and Kunze WA drafted the manuscript; Kunze WA designed the research.
Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant awarded (to Kunze W), No. 2014-05517.
Institutional animal care and use committee statement: All procedures involving animals were reviewed and approved by the Animal Research Ethics Board of McMaster University (AUP# 12-05-17).
Conflict-of-interest statement: There are no conflicts of interest.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Christine West, MSc Candidate, BSc, McMaster Brain-Body Institute, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, 50 Charlton Street East, ON L8N 4A6, Canada.
Telephone: +1-905-5221155 Fax: +1-905-5406593
Received: July 20, 2016
Peer-review started: July 21, 2016
First decision: August 22, 2016
Revised: September 15, 2016
Accepted: October 10, 2016
Article in press: October 10, 2016
Published online: December 28, 2016

To investigate the capacity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) and Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) yeasts to reverse or to treat acute stress-related intestinal dysmotility.


Adult Swiss Webster mice were stressed for 1 h in a wire-mesh restraint to induce symptoms of intestinal dysmotility and were subsequently killed by cervical dislocation. Jejunal and colon tissue were excised and placed within a tissue perfusion bath in which S. cerevisiae, S. boulardii, or their supernatants were administered into the lumen. Video recordings of contractility and gut diameter changes were converted to spatiotemporal maps and the velocity, frequency, and amplitude of propagating contractile clusters (PCC) were measured. Motility pre- and post-treatment was compared between stressed animals and unstressed controls.


S. boulardii and S. cerevisiae helped to mediate the effects of stress on the small and large intestine. Restraint stress reduced jejunal transit velocity (mm/s) from 2.635 ± 0.316 to 1.644 ± 0.238, P < 0.001 and jejunal transit frequency (Hz) from 0.032 ± 0.008 to 0.016 ± 0.005, P < 0.001. Restraint stress increased colonic transit velocity (mm/s) from 0.864 ± 0.183 to 1.432 ± 0.329, P < 0.001 and frequency to a lesser degree. Luminal application of S. boulardii helped to restore jejunal and colonic velocity towards the unstressed controls; 1.833 ± 0.688 to 2.627 ± 0.664, P < 0.001 and 1.516 ± 0.263 to 1.036 ± 0.21, P < 0.001, respectively. S. cerevisiae also had therapeutic effects on the stressed gut, but was most apparent in the jejunum. S. cerevisiae increased PCC velocity in the stressed jejunum from 1.763 ± 0.397 to 2.017 ± 0.48, P = 0.0031 and PCC frequency from 0.016 ± 0.009 to 0.027 ± 0.007, P < 0.001. S. cerevisiae decreased colon PCC velocity from 1.647 ± 0.187 to 1.038 ± 0.222, P < 0.001. Addition of S. boulardii or S. cerevisiae supernatants also helped to restore motility to unstressed values in similar capacity.


There is a potential therapeutic role for S. cerevisiae and S. boulardii yeasts and their supernatants in the treatment of acute stress-related gut dysmotility.

Keywords: Intestine, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces boulardii, Restraint stress, Motility

Core tip: The use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces boulardii yeasts as therapeutic agents were tested for their ability to reverse the intestinal discomfort caused by acute stress. Most studies investigate the role of microbes in the prevention of stress, however the yeasts showed promising acute therapeutic effects for the treatment of stress. Additionally, the residual supernatant (Snt) after centrifugation of the yeasts was able to recapitulate much of the effect of the microbes themselves. Saccharomyces yeasts or Snt may be potential probiotic therapies in the treatment of acute stress-related intestinal dysmotility.