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J Immunol. 2014 Feb 15;192(4):1870-7. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1302286. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus inhibits the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps.

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Cell Biology Program, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario M5G 0A4, Canada.


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are an essential component of the antimicrobial repertoire and represent an effective means by which neutrophils capture, contain, and kill microorganisms. However, the uncontrolled or excessive liberation of NETs also damages surrounding cells and can contribute to disease pathophysiology. Alterations in the gut microbiota, as well as the presence of local and systemic markers of inflammation, are strongly associated with the manifestation of a spectrum of intestinal disorders, including chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Although probiotics exert beneficial effects on gut homeostasis, their direct effect on neutrophils, which are abundant in the setting of intestinal inflammation, remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of nonpathogenic, enteropathogenic, and probiotic bacteria on the dynamics of NET formation. Using murine bone marrow-derived neutrophils and the neutrophil-differentiated human myeloid cell line d.HL-60, we demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG inhibits both PMA- and Staphylococcus aureus-induced formation of NETs. Moreover, probiotic L. rhamnosus strain GG had potent antioxidative activity: dampening reactive oxygen species production and phagocytic capacity of the neutrophils while protecting against cell cytotoxicity. Within the milieu of the gut, this represents a novel mechanism by which probiotics can locally dampen innate immune responses and confer desensitization toward luminal Ags.

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