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Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 1999 Nov;15(6):534-7.

Probiotics and gut inflammation.

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Department of Paediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.


The intestine's mucosal surface provides a defense barrier against antigens encountered by the enteric route. In this system a balance is generated and maintained between host and microfloral bacteria. In intestinal inflammation, the integrity of the barrier is disrupted, a greater amount of antigens traverses the mucosal barrier, and the routes of transport are altered, possibly evoking aberrant immune responses and release of proinflammatory cytokines with further impairment of the barrier function. Nutritional therapy remains an attractive tool in the management of intestinal inflammation. The advances this past year are related to the ecologic system provided by specific strains of gut microflora, the concept of healthy microflora, and ways in which gut barrier function could be strengthened by consumption of mono-and mixed cultures of beneficial live microorganisms as probiotics.

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