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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Jun;68(6):3031-4.

Increased enterocyte production in gnotobiotic rats mono-associated with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

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Laboratory of Medical Microbial Ecology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


There is increasing scientific and commercial interest in using beneficial microorganisms (i.e., probiotics) to enhance intestinal health. Of the numerous microbial strains examined, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been most extensively studied. Daily intake of L. rhamnosus GG shortens the course of rotavirus infection by mechanisms that have not been fully elucidated. Comparative studies with germfree and conventional rats have shown that the microbial status of an animal influences the intestinal cell kinetics and morphology. The present study was undertaken to study whether establishment of L. rhamnosus GG as a mono-associate in germfree rats influences intestinal cell kinetics and morphology. L. rhamnosus GG was easily established in germfree rats. After 3 days of mono-association, the rate of mitoses in the upper part of the small intestine (jejunum 1) increased as much as 14 and 22% compared to the rates in germfree and conventional counterparts, respectively. The most striking alteration in morphology was an increase in the number of cells in the villi. We hypothesis that the compartmentalized effects of L. rhamnosus GG may represent a reparative event for the mucosa.

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