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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Mar;294(3):G599-609. Epub 2007 Nov 21.

Saccharomyces boulardii interferes with Shigella pathogenesis by postinvasion signaling events.

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Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Saccharomyces boulardii is gaining in popularity as a treatment for a variety of diarrheal diseases as well as inflammatory bowel disease. This study was designed to examine the effect of this yeast on infection by Shigella flexneri, a highly infectious and human host-adapted enteric pathogen. We investigated key interactions between the bacteria and host cells in the presence of the yeast in addition to a number of host responses including proinflammatory events and markers. Although the presence of the yeast during infection did not alter the number of bacteria that was able to attach or invade human colon cancer-derived T-84 cells, it did positively impact the tight junction protein zonula occluden-2 and significantly increase the barrier integrity of model epithelia. The yeast also decreased ERK, JNK, and NF-kappaB activation in response to S. flexneri, events likely responsible for the observed reductions in IL-8 secretion and the transepithelial migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes across T-84 monolayers. These results, suggesting that the yeast allowed for a dampened inflammatory response, were confirmed in vivo utilizing a highly relevant model of human fetal colonic tissue transplanted into scid mice. Furthermore, a cell-free S. boulardii culture supernatant was also capable of reducing IL-8 secretion by infected T-84 cells. These data suggest that although the use of S. boulardii during infection with S. flexneri may alleviate symptoms associated with the inflammatory response of the host, it would not prevent infection.

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