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Res Microbiol. 2008 Nov-Dec;159(9-10):692-8. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Effect of four probiotic strains and Escherichia coli O157:H7 on tight junction integrity and cyclo-oxygenase expression.

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Danisco Finland, Enteromix Research, Sokeritehtaantie 20, FIN-02460 Kantvik, Finland.


Controversy exists as to whether contact between a probiotic bacterial cell and an epithelial cell in the gut is needed to confer beneficial effects of probiotics, or whether metabolites from probiotics are sufficient to cause this effect. To address this question, Caco-2 cells were treated with cell-free supernatants of four probiotics, Bifidobacterium lactis 420, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Lactobacillus salivarius Ls-33, and by a cell-free supernatant of a pathogenic bacteria, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC). Tight junction integrity as well as expression of cyclo-oxygenases, which are prostaglandin-producing enzymes, were measured. Probiotic-specific as well as EHEC-specific effects on tight junction integrity and cyclo-oxygenase expression were evident, indicating that live bacterial cells were not necessary for the manifestation of the effects. B. lactis 420 cell-free supernatant increased tight junction integrity, while EHEC cell-free supernatant induced damage on tight junctions. In general, EHEC and probiotics had opposite effects upon cyclo-oxygenase expression. Furthermore, B. lactis 420 cell-free supernatant protected the tight junctions from EHEC-induced damage when administered prior to the cell-free supernatant of EHEC. These results indicate that probiotics produce bioactive metabolites, suggesting that consumption of specific probiotic bacteria might be beneficial in protecting intestinal epithelial cells from the deleterious effects of pathogenic bacteria.

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