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J Food Sci. 2011 Mar;76(2):H55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.02031.x.

Modulation of Th1/Th2 balance by Lactobacillus strains isolated from Kimchi via stimulation of macrophage cell line J774A.1 in vitro.

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Immune Modulation Lab, Chung-Ang Univ, 221 Heukseok-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 156-756, Republic of Korea.


Lactobacilli isolated from Kimchi, a Korean traditional food, were tested for their capacity to modulate the T helper (Th) 1/Th2 balance. Ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mouse splenocytes were cultured with 26 strains of lactobacilli; the highest IL-12 induction and lowest IL-4 production were then observed in 4 strains, including Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP55, CJLP56, CJLP133, and CJLP136. These strains produced a larger amount of IL-12, which enhances differentiation and activation of Th1 cells, in macrophage cell-lines more than positive control strains L. casei KCTC 3109(T) and L. rhamnosus GG, although they also induced production of IL-10, which is a suppressor of IL-12. Indeed, CJLP133-stimulated macrophages induced production of more Th1 cytokine IFN-γ and less Th2 cytokine IL-4 than KCTC 3109(T) and GG in co-cultivation with T cells. These findings suggest that lactobacilli from Kimchi may modulate the Th1/Th2 balance via macrophage activation in the hypersensitive reaction caused by Th2 cells.


Allergic reactions including asthma and atopy are caused by predominance of Th2 response over Th1 response. Lactobacilli isolated from fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, and Kimchi showed health-promoting activities. The present study indicated that several lactobacilli strains from Kimchi may reduce allergic reactions through macrophage-mediated induction of Th1 response.

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