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Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Jun 1;32(11):1567-76. Epub 2001 May 4.

Probiotic agents and infectious diseases: a modern perspective on a traditional therapy.

Author information

1
Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Abstract

There is an increasing scientific and commercial interest in the use of beneficial microorganisms, or "probiotics," for the prevention and treatment of disease. The microorganisms most frequently used as probiotic agents are lactic-acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), which has been extensively studied in recent literature. Multiple mechanisms of action have been postulated, including lactose digestion, production of antimicrobial agents, competition for space or nutrients, and immunomodulation. We have reviewed recent studies of probiotics for the treatment and control of infectious diseases. Studies of pediatric diarrhea show substantial evidence of clinical benefits from probiotic therapy in patients with viral gastroenteritis, and data on LGG treatment for Clostridium difficile diarrhea appear promising. However, data to support use of probiotics for prevention of traveler's diarrhea are more limited. New research suggests potential applications in vaccine development and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Further studies are needed to take full advantage of this traditional medical approach and to apply it to the infectious diseases of the new millennium.

PMID:
11340528
DOI:
10.1086/320518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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