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Immunol Lett. 2008 Aug 15;119(1-2):78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 May 22.

Adjuvant effect of Lactobacillus casei in a mouse model of gluten sensitivity.

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  • 1Institute of Food Sciences, CNR, Avellino, Italy.


Probiotic strains have been reported to exert immunomodulatory activities in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. In this study we explored the effect of Lactobacillus casei in transgenic mice expressing the human DQ8 heterodimer, a HLA molecule linked to Celiac Disease (CD). DQ8 mice, mucosally immunized with the gluten component gliadin, mounted an intestinal Th1-like response as observed in CD, without developing enteropathy. Co-administration of L. casei in sensitized mice specifically enhanced the gliadin-specific response mediated by CD4(+) T cells. Notably, both a strong increase of the gliadin-specific IFNgamma expression and a pro-inflammatory polarization of the cytokine milieu in the small intestinal mucosa were associated to the presence of the probiotic strain. However, this condition did not bring on any mucosal alteration. These findings suggest that the gliadin-specific enteropathy is not merely related to the HLA DQ8-restricted massive production of IFNgamma, but additional parameters are involved. Moreover, our data imply that the intrinsic adjuvanticity of L. casei can be exploited to further enhance both mucosal and systemic T cell-mediated responses.

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