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Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2013 May 1;9(2):99-107.

Protection and Restitution of Gut Barrier by Probiotics: Nutritional and Clinical Implications.

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Department of Physiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.
DVS College of Arts and Science, Shimoga, India.


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria present in various dietary components and many of these colonize in the human and animal intestine. In the gut probiotics help the host by assisting in maintenance of normal mucosal homeostasis. Probiotics not only help maintain normal function of the gut mucosa, but also protect mucosa from injurious factors such as toxins, allergens and pathogens. The beneficial effect of probiotics is mediated by multiple mechanisms, including cytoprotection, cell proliferation, cell migration, resistance to apoptosis, synthesis of proteins and gene expression. One of the important cytoprotective effects of probiotics in the intestinal mucosa is to strengthen the epithelial tight junctions and preservation of mucosal barrier function. Probiotics not only enhance barrier function by inducing synthesis and assembly of tight junction proteins, but also preventing disruption of tight junctions by injurious factors. Bioactive factors released by probiotics trigger activation of various cell signaling pathways that lead to strengthening of tight junctions and the barrier function. This article reviews and summarizes the current understanding of various probiotics that are involved in the protection of gut barrier function, highlights the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the protective effect and addresses the clinical implications of probiotic supplementation.

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