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J Dairy Sci. 2019 Jan;102(1):37-53. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-14520. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Yogurt starter cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus ameliorate symptoms and modulate the immune response in a mouse model of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis.

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Department of Immunology and Food Microbiology, Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, 10-748 Olsztyn, Poland. Electronic address:
Department of Immunology and Food Microbiology, Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, 10-748 Olsztyn, Poland.


We investigated the yogurt starter cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus 151 and Streptococcus thermophilus MK-10 for their effect on the severity of experimental colitis, lymphocyte profile, and regulatory T-cell response. Colitis was induced in BALB/c mice via the administration of 3.5% dextran sulfate sodium salt (DSS) in drinking water for 6 d. Next, the mice were gavaged intragastrically with an active yogurt cultures (YC) mixture (∼5 × 109 cfu/mouse per day) or saline (vehicle) for 8 d. Mice receiving DSS or saline alone served as positive and negative controls, respectively. The length of the colon, disease activity index, histological scores, myeloperoxidase activity, epithelium-associated microbes, short-chain fatty acid profile, total IgA antibody-forming cells, CD3+CD8+, CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD4+CD25+, CD3+CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T-cell subsets, and cytokine profiles (IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17A, IFN-γ, and tumor necrosis factor) were examined after termination of the mice. Feeding mice with YC mixture reduced disease symptoms and modified intestinal microbiota and host inflammatory responsiveness to DSS. We observed limited weight loss and a decreased disease activity index score, lowered myeloperoxidase activity, and somewhat reduced damage of the intestine. The YC mixture upregulated the colon length, increased the amount and diversity of mucosa-associated microbes (enterobacteria, enterococci, and yeast), and decreased the concentration of putrefactive short-chain fatty acids in the cecal contents. It downregulated the input of cytotoxic CD3+CD8+ T cells and CD3+CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells in Peyer's patches and enhanced CD3+CD4+CD25+ T cells in spleens and CD3+CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Simultaneously, IgA antibody-forming cells were downregulated in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) and enhanced in spleens (SPL). The cultures mostly enhanced the production of cytokines tested in MLN and SPL, except for IL-6, which was downregulated in MLN. Interleukin-2 and IL-4 were the most upregulated in MLN, whereas IL-10, IL-4, IL-2, IFN-γ, and tumor necrosis factor were most upregulated in SPL. In serum, the YC mixture downregulated IFN-γ and clearly increased IL-2. Based on these results, we recognize the high anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential of the L. bulgaricus 151 and S. thermophilus MK-10 set. The strains possess the ability to modulate the intestinal mucosal and systemic immune system toward both IgA production and induction of regulatory T cells, shifting Th1/Th2 balance.


Lactobacillus bulgaricus; Streptococcus thermophilus; dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis; regulatory T cell; yogurt culture

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