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.
Recently, gut-dwelling bifidobacteria from chimpanzees, which are phylogenetically close to humans and have feeding habits similar to humans, have been frequently investigated. Given this, we speculated that like humans, chimpanzees would have a unique diversity of bifidobacteria. We herein describe a taxonomically novel member of bifidobacteria isolated from fecal samples of captive chimpanzees. Bifidobacteria were detected in all fecal samples by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A Bifidobacterium pseudolongum-like species, which could not be detected using B. pseudolongum-specific primers targeting the groEL gene sequence, was dominant in the feces of five chimpanzees. Seven bifidobacterial strains were isolated from this group of five chimpanzees, and all isolates were identified as B. pseudolongum. B. pseudolongum has previously often been isolated from non-primate animals as well as humans; however, here we demonstrate its presence in a nonhuman primate species.
Many probiotic lactobacilli and their extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) have beneficial immunological properties. However, it is unclear how they elicit the host immune response. We thus investigated the immunological properties of UV-killed Lactobacillus delbrueckii TU-1 and L. plantarum KM-9 cells as well as their extracellular polysaccharides (EPSs). High-performance liquid chromatography and ion exchange chromatography analyses showed that their EPSs differ in sugar composition and sugar fractionation. The immunological properties were evaluated in a semi-intestinal model using a Transwell co-culture system that employed human intestinal epithelial (Caco-2) cells on the apical side and murine macrophage (RAW264.7) cells on the basolateral side. The UV-killed cells and EPSs were added to the apical side to allow direct contact with Caco-2 cells and incubated for 6 hr. After incubation, the amounts of tumor necrosis factor-α and several cytokines released by RAW264.7 or Caco-2 cells were quantified by cytotoxic activity on L929 cells (murine fibrosarcoma cell line) and quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR. We found that the UV-killed cells and their EPSs had immunological effects on RAW264.7 cells via Caco-2 cells. The RAW264.7 cells showed different cytokine production profiles when treated with UV-killed cells and EPSs. The UV-killed cells and EPSs promoted a Th1-type cellular response. Furthermore, we found that the UV-killed cells sent positive signals through Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2. Meanwhile, neither EPS sent a positive signal through TLR4 and TLR2. This evidence suggests that both UV-killed cells of the lactobacillus strains and their EPSs trigger a Th1-type immune response in a human host, with the former triggering the response via the TLRs expressed on its epithelium and the latter employing a mechanism yet to be determined, possibly involving a novel receptor that is designed to recognize specific patterns of repeating sugar in the EPSs.
Lactic acid bacteria are gut flora that play key roles in intestinal homeostasis, which may affect a variety of physiological functions. Our preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trials have suggested that intake of heat-killed Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei 327 (designated L. K-1) is effective for improving skin conditions. The aim of this study was to confirm the effect of L. K-1 intake in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in healthy female volunteers. Sixty-four subjects were allocated to either the placebo food group (group P, n=32) or active food group (group A, n=32), in which subjects consumed lactobacillus K-1 50 mg (approximately 1 × 1011 bacteria) daily for 8 weeks. After excluding subjects who declined to participate (n=1), violated restrictions (n=4), or were judged ineligible by the principal investigators (n=1), data obtained with 58 subjects (30 in group A and 28 in group P) were analyzed for efficacy by comparing differences from pretrial levels between the two groups. When the level of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) was measured at the arm, the level of TEWL at week 4 of the intake period was significantly lower in group A than group P (p=0.021), suggesting an improvement of skin barrier function. Analysis of skin condition questionnaire data revealed a significant reduction in skin flakiness on the face (week 4). No adverse events were associated with intake of the test foods. The safety of L. K-1 was also confirmed in an independent open-label trial in 11 healthy subjects who consumed excessive amounts of L. K-1 250 mg (approximately 5 × 1011 bacteria). Intake of L. K-1 may therefore be beneficial to skin condition improvement.
We investigated if the orally administered Lactobacillus pentosus strain S-PT84 (S-PT84) might show anti-stress activity and ameliorate stress-induced immune suppression in mice. Stress of mice induced an increase in serum corticosterone and a decrease in splenic natural killer activity and in the number of splenocytes versus control mice. However, these changes were not observed in stressed mice that had been administered S-PT84. Furthermore, interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-10 production, which was downregulated in lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages from stressed mice, was maintained at control levels in the macrophages of stressed mice that had been fed S-PT84. Interferon-γ production, which was downregulated in concanavalin A-activated splenocytes from stressed mice, tended to be maintained at control levels in stressed mice that had been fed S-PT84, although IL-4 production by these cells was not influenced by S-PT84 administration. Additionally, reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were decreased in serum and peritoneal macrophages from stressed mice versus controls, but these GSH levels were significantly higher in stressed animals that had been administered S-PT84 compared with those that had not. These results suggest that S-PT84 exerts anti-stress activity through immune modulation and/or antioxidative activity.
Whole-genome sequencing was performed for Lactobacillus parakefiri JCM 8573T to confirm its hitherto controversial taxonomic position. Here, we report its first reliable reference genome. Genome-wide metrics, such as average nucleotide identity and digital DNA-DNA hybridization, and phylogenomic analysis based on multiple genes supported its taxonomic status as a distinct species in the genus Lactobacillus. The availability of a reliable genome sequence will aid future investigations on the industrial applications of L. parakefiri in functional foods such as kefir grains.