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J Dairy Sci. 1995 Jul;78(7):1597-606.

Immune system stimulation by probiotics.

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Centro de Referencias para Lactobacilos (CERELA), Tucumán, Argentina.


The immune system consists of organs and several cell types. Antigen interaction with these cells induces a cellular immune response mediated by activated cells and a humoral immune response mediated by antibodies. The cellular interactions are enhanced by adhesion molecules, and the activated cells release different cytokines. These complex cellular interactions induce a systemic immune response. If the antigen penetrates by the oral route, a secretory immune response is obtained, which is mediated by secretory IgA. The determination of the number of T or B cells, the quantitative or qualitative measure of the cytokines, antibody levels, or the study of cellular function such as phagocytic activity is used to evaluate the state of the immune system. The effects of lactic acid bacteria on the systemic immune response and on the secretory immune system are described. Potential health benefits of lactic acid bacteria include protection against enteric infections, use as an oral adjuvant, the immunopotentiator in malnutrition, and the prevention of chemically induced tumors. The results showed that Lactobacillus casei could prevent enteric infections and stimulate secretory IgA in malnourished animals, but could produce bacteria translocation. Yogurt could inhibit the growth of intestinal carcinoma through increased activity of IgA, T cells, and macrophages.

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