Volume 36 (2017) Issue 3 Pages 75-90
The concept of certain microorganisms conferring direct benefits to the host relates to the term “probiotic”. Probiotics are microorganisms, bacteria, or yeast that when administered orally in sufficient quantity can counteract the effect of pathogenic microorganisms. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the site where probiotics are believed to play the most important role. The proposed effects of probiotics include antagonism of pathogens, interference with adherence, competition for nutrients, enterotoxin inactivation, modulation of the immune response, and strengthening of the intestinal barrier. From birth to postweaning, piglets are very sensitive to gut colonisation by pathogens. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli represents one of the most common agents of swine diarrhoea. The enterotoxins produced by this E. coli virotype are responsible for the loss of electrolytes and water observed following infection. This review addresses more specifically the studies done during the last 10 years deciphering the molecular mechanisms at play between host cell and probiotic interactions in the swine GI tract.