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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Impact of a probiotic fermented milk in the gut ecosystem and in the systemic immunity using a non-severe protein-energy-malnutrition model in mice

Carolina Maldonado Galdeano12, Ivanna Novotny Núñez1, Alejandra de Moreno de LeBlanc1, Esteban Carmuega3, Ricardo Weill4 and Gabriela Perdigón12*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET). Chacabuco 145, San Miguel de Tucumán (T4000ILC) Tucumán. Argentina

2 Cátedra de Inmunología. Instituto de Microbiología. Facultad de Bioquímica, Química y Farmacia. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina

3 Nutritia. Buenos Aires. Argentina

4 Departamento de Investigación y Desarrollo, DANONE Argentina S.A. Buenos Aires. Argentina

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BMC Gastroenterology 2011, 11:64  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-11-64

Published: 26 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Malnutrition affects the immune response, causing a decrease of defence mechanisms and making the host more susceptible to infections. Probiotics can reconstitute the intestinal mucosa and stimulate local and systemic immunity. The aim of this work was evaluate the effects of a probiotic fermented milk as a complement of a re-nutrition diet, on the recovery of the intestinal barrier, and mucosal and systemic immune functions in a murine model of non-severe protein-energy-malnutrition. Its potential protection against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) infection was also analyzed.

Methods

Mice were undernourished and divided into 3 groups according to the dietary supplement received during re-nutrition (milk, probiotic fermented milk or its bacterial free supernatant) and compared to well-nourished and malnourished mice. They were sacrificed previous to the re-nutrition and 5 days post re-nutrition. The phagocytic activity of macrophages from spleen and peritoneum and the changes in the intestinal histology and microbiota were evaluated. Different immune cell populations and cytokine productions were analyzed in the small intestine tissues. The effect of the re-nutrition supplements on the systemic immunity using OVA antigen and against an infection with S. Typhimurium was also studied.

Results

Probiotic fermented milk was the most effective re-nutrition diet that improved the intestinal microbiota. Its administration also increased the number of IgA+ cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. The production of different cytokine (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-12) by these cells and the phagocytic activity in peritoneum and spleen was also increased. This re-nutrition diet also stimulated the systemic immune response against OVA antigen which was diminished after the malnutrition period and also improved the host response against S. Typhimurium, decreasing the spread of pathogenic bacteria to the liver and the spleen. The importance of the metabolites released during milk fermentation was also demonstrated through the analysis of the bacterial free supernatant obtained from the probiotic fermented milk, but the whole product showed the best effects in the parameters evaluated in this study.

Conclusions

The administration of probiotic fermented milk as a dietary supplement during the re-nutrition process in a murine immunodeficiency model by malnutrition could be a good adjuvant diet to improve the gut and systemic immune response for the protection against Salmonella infection.