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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 2;107(5):2159-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904055107. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Generation of regulatory dendritic cells and CD4+Foxp3+ T cells by probiotics administration suppresses immune disorders.

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Department of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 500-712, Korea.


The beneficial effects of probiotics have been described in many diseases, but the mechanism by which they modulate the immune system is poorly understood. In this study, we identified a mixture of probiotics that up-regulates CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). Administration of the probiotics mixture induced both T-cell and B-cell hyporesponsiveness and down-regulated T helper (Th) 1, Th2, and Th17 cytokines without apoptosis induction. It also induced generation of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs from the CD4(+)CD25(-) population and increased the suppressor activity of naturally occurring CD4(+)CD25(+) Tregs. Conversion of T cells into Foxp3(+) Tregs is directly mediated by regulatory dendritic cells (rDCs) that express high levels of IL-10, TGF-beta, COX-2, and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase. Administration of probiotics had therapeutical effects in experimental inflammatory bowel disease, atopic dermatitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The therapeutical effect of the probiotics is associated with enrichment of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs in the inflamed regions. Collectively, the administration of probiotics that enhance the generation of rDCs and Tregs represents an applicable treatment of inflammatory immune disorders.

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