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Gut. 2003 Mar;52(3):370-6.

Lactobacillus GG prevents recurrence of colitis in HLA-B27 transgenic rats after antibiotic treatment.

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Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease and Division of Digestive Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7038, USA.



Bacteroides vulgatus induces colitis in gnotobiotic HLA-B27 transgenic (TG) rats while broad spectrum antibiotics prevent and treat colitis in specific pathogen free (SPF) TG rats although disease recurs after treatment ends. Lactobacilli treat human pouchitis and experimental colitis. We investigated if Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (L GG) can prevent colitis in TG rats monoassociated with B vulgatus and if L GG or Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP 299v) can treat established colitis in SPF TG rats and prevent recurrent disease after antibiotics were stopped.


Germfree B27 TG rats were monoassociated with B vulgatus for four weeks following two weeks of colonisation with L GG or no bacteria. SPF B27 TG rats received oral vancomycin and imipenem for two weeks, or water alone, followed by four weeks of treatment with oral L GG, LP 299v, or water only. Disease activity was quantified by blinded gross and histological scores, caecal myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and levels of interleukin (IL)-1 beta, tumour necrosis factor (TNF), transforming growth factor beta, and IL-10.


L GG did not prevent colitis in B vulgatus co-associated TG rats or treat established disease in SPF rats. However, L GG but not LP 299v prevented colitis relapse in antibiotic treated rats with reduced gross and histological scores, caecal MPO, IL-1 beta, and TNF whereas caecal IL-10 was increased.


L GG does not prevent colitis in gnotobiotic TG rats or treat established disease in SPF rats, but is superior to LP 299v in the prevention of recurrent colitis. These studies suggest that antibiotics and probiotic agents provide synergistic therapeutic effects, perhaps mediated by altered immunomodulation with selective activity of different lactobacillus species.

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