Send to

Choose Destination
Microbes Infect. 2002 Mar;4(3):319-24.

Use of Lactobacillus to prevent infection by pathogenic bacteria.

Author information

Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Western Ontario, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario, N6A 4V2, Canada.


This review focuses on the use and potential of Lactobacillus to prevent infections of the urogenital and intestinal tracts. The presence and dominance of Lactobacillus in the vagina is associated with a reduced risk of bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections. The mechanisms appear to involve anti-adhesion factors, by-products such as hydrogen peroxide and bacteriocins lethal to pathogens, and perhaps immune modulation or signaling effects. The instillation of Lactobacillus GR-1 and B-54 or RC-14 strains into the vagina has been shown to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, and improve the maintenance of a normal flora. Ingestion of these strains into the gut has also been shown to modify the vaginal flora to a more healthy state. In addition, these strains inhibit the growth of intestinal, as well as urogenital pathogens, colonize the gut and protect against infections as shown in mice. Other probiotic strains, such as Lactobacillus GG, have been shown to prevent and treat gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus and bacteria. Given that lactobacilli are not the dominant commensals in a gut which comprises around 10(10) organisms, much work is still needed to define the mechanisms whereby GR-1, RC-14, GG and other strains contribute to health restoration and maintenance. Such critically important studies will require the medical science community to show a willingness to turn away from pharmaceutical remedies as the only solution to health and disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center