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Biocell. 2003 Apr;27(1):1-9.

Interaction of bifidobacteria with the gut and their influence in the immune function.

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Instituto de Microbiología, Facultad de Bioquímica, Química y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina.


Bifidobacteria are predominant in the lumen of the large intestine and confer various health benefits on the host. They are also used in the preparation of new fermented milks (bioyogurts) or added to conventional yogurt to generate probiotic effects. The colonization of the gut by bacteria tends to be host specific due partly to the way in which bacteria adhere to the intestinal wall. Using a homologous strain of Bifidobacterium animalis in an experimental mouse model, we analyzed by immunofluorescence labelled-bacteria and transmission electronic microscopy the importance of the bacterial interaction with epithelial an immune cells associated to the gut, and the effect of feeding of B. animalis in the immune response. It was able to adhere and interact with both small and large intestine. In spite of this interaction with the gut, no modifications in the immune state (secretory or systemic response) were observed. A heterologous strain of Bifidobacterium adolescentis from human faeces, was neither incapable of binding to the intestine, nor influence the immune system activation, when it was administered during 2, 5 or 7 consecutive days; we believe that using a homologous strain, oral tolerance is developed even when the microorganism interacts with the immune cells associated with the intestine. However, we cannot ignore the beneficial effect of these microorganisms, especially in the prevention of intestinal infections. We think that this property exerted by bifidobacteria is more related to other mechanisms such as competitive inhibition, acid production or others, than enhancement of the immune state.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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