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Pediatr Res. 2005 Dec;58(6):1185-91.

Preinoculation with the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus early in life effectively inhibits murine Citrobacter rodentium colitis.

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Chang Gung Children's Hospital and Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a common pathogen in infantile diarrhea, causing a characteristic histopathologic attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion in the intestinal mucosa. The mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium causes a similar A/E lesion in the murine intestine. Like EPEC, C. rodentium infection results in colonic crypt hyperplasia, goblet cell depletion, epithelial proliferation, and mucosal disruption. Using this murine model, we tested the hypothesis that preinoculation of murine gut with Lactobacillus acidophilus early in life can enhance host defense against enteric bacterial infection and attenuate bacteria-mediated colitis. Two-week old BALB/c mice were inoculated with L. acidophilus twice per week for 4 weeks before C. rodentium infection or concomitantly with the exposure to C. rodentium at 6-8 weeks of age. The probiotics were administered twice weekly thereafter. We observed that L. acidophilus inoculation in mice inhibits C. rodentium-induced colitis, which is associated with a decrease in C. rodentium colonization and translocation, an increase in its clearance, and a suppression of colonic myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. Probiotic treatment also stimulates regulatory cytokine expression in the colon [transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), interleukin (IL)-10]. Preinoculation with L. acidophilus is more effective than concomitant use of probiotics in the induction of intestinal IgA secretion and in the downregulation of proinflammatory cytokine expression [tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), IL-6, and IL-12]. These observations suggest that inoculation with probiotics can effectively prevent bacteria-induced colitis by limiting enteric bacteria infection and promoting mucosal protective regulatory immune responses. This study may have ramifications for prevention of infectious diarrhea in human infants and children, particularly in developing countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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