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Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Apr 10;115(2):227-34. Epub 2007 Jan 29.

A novel eukaryotic cell culture model to study antiviral activity of potential probiotic bacteria.

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University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture, Vrbanska c.30, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia.


As shown in many intervention studies, probiotic bacteria can have a beneficial effect on rotavirus and HIV-induced diarrhoea. In spite of that fact, antiviral effects of probiotic bacteria have not been systematically studied yet. Non-tumorigenic porcine intestinal epithelial cells (IPEC-J2) and alveolar macrophages (3D4/2) were treated in different experimental designs with probiotic and other lactic bacteria and their metabolic products. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was used in the study as a model virus. Cell survival and viral inhibition were determined by antiviral assay and confirmed by immunofluorescence. Pre-incubation of cell monolayers with probiotic bacteria reduced viral infectivity up to 60%. All bacteria used prevented VSV binding to the cell monolayers by direct binding of VSV to their surface. Probiotic and other lactic bacteria prevented viral infection also by establishment of the antiviral state in pre-treated cell monolayers. Probiotic and other lactic bacteria secreted antiviral substances during their growth, as the infectivity of the virus was diminished by 68% when bacterial supernatants were tested. It was shown for the first time that probiotic and other lactic bacteria exhibit an antiviral activity in a cell culture model. Possible mechanisms of antiviral activity include: 1) hindering the adsorption and cell internalisation of the VSV due to the direct trapping of the virus by the bacteria, 2) "cross-talk" with the cells in establishing the antiviral protection and 3) production of metabolites with a direct antiviral effect.

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