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J Nutr. 2011 Oct;141(10):1813-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.136689. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri alleviates the response to gastric distension in rats.

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McMaster Brain-Body Institute, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Probiotic lactic acid bacteria have been reported to alleviate symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. However, they have not been tested for use in functional gastric disease. We therefore investigated if strains previously shown to protect from response to colorectal distension (CRD) in rats also modulate response to gastric distension (GD). Healthy, male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with viable, heat-killed, gamma-irradiated Lactobacillus reuteri or viable Lactobacillus plantarum wild type (WT), L. plantarum Dlt¯mutant, conditioned medium or medium control (9 d), and subjected to GD under anesthesia using an i.g. Teflon catheter. Effects were measured by heart rate (HR) changes during noxious distension (60 mm Hg) compared to baseline HR values. We also investigated the localization of viable, green fluorescent protein-transfected bacteria in the stomach mucosa. Viable L. reuteri decreased the bradycardia induced by noxious GD compared to placebo controls (P < 0.001). Heat-killed or gamma-irradiated L. reuteri and conditioned medium did not have a protective effect in GD. Viable L. plantarum WT and Dlt¯mutant, previously shown to be effective antinociceptive agents in CRD, showed no protective effect in GD. All viable bacteria were associated with the pars glandularis of the rat stomach. Thus, we conclude that the antinociceptive mechanisms of action of probiotic bacteria differ between the stomach and the colon. Symptom alleviation cannot be attributed to the localization of the bacteria in the stomach. Information derived from effects of CRD cannot be extrapolated to effects in the stomach, which are likely to be strain and organ specific.

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