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Keywords:

  • Lactobacilli;
  • macrophages;
  • neutrophils;
  • probiotics

ABSTRACT

The present investigation aimed at identifying the abilities of three different species of probiotic lactobacilli to modulate cellular immune responses in mouse neutrophils and macrophages in vivo over a study period of 60 days. Neutrophil respiratory burst enzymes (cytochrome c reductase and MPO) showed remarkable increased activity (P ≤ 0.01) after consumption of milks fermented by different species of probiotics over 30 and 60 days of feeding trials. Enzyme activities (β-galactosidase and β-glucuronidase) and nitric oxide production also increased considerably (P ≤ 0.01) in macrophages, both in peritoneal fluid and in enriched cell cultures. The effects of enhanced enzyme activities were corroborated by simultaneous increases in the phagocytic activities of neutrophils and macrophages. The increases in cellular functions were invariably maximal during the first 30 days of study and were maintained, but did not increase, over the next 30 days. Further, Lactobacillus helveticus-fed groups were most effective at modulating neutrophil functions whereas Lactobacillus paracasei-fed groups were more potent at enhancing macrophage functions. Together, our results indicate that probiotics have strain specific effects on stimulating cellular functions while not causing excessive stimulation of the immune system over longer feeding periods, thereby resulting in maximum and stable health benefits.