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Examining the Gastrointestinal and Immunomodulatory Effects of the Novel Probiotic Bacillus subtilis DE111

  • 2021-02-28
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(5)
    • Kimberley E. Freedman
    • Jessica L. Hill
    • Yuren Wei
    • Allegra R. Vazquez
    • Diana S. Grubb
    • Roxanne E. Trotter
    • Scott D. Wrigley
    • Sarah A. Johnson
    • M. Foster
    • T. Weir


Probiotics make up a large and growing segment of the commercial market of dietary supplements and are touted as offering a variety of human health benefits. Some of the purported positive impacts of probiotics include, but are not limited to, stabilization of the gut microbiota, prevention of gastrointestinal disorders and modulation of the host immune system. Current research suggests that the immunomodulatory effects of probiotics are strain-specific and vary in mode of action. Here, we examined the immunomodulatory properties of Bacillus subtilis strain DE111 in a healthy human population. In a pilot randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled four-week intervention, we examined peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) at basal levels pre- and post-intervention, as well as in response to stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We observed an increase in anti-inflammatory immune cell populations in response to ex vivo LPS stimulation of PBMCs in the DE111 intervention group. Overall perceived gastrointestinal health, microbiota, and circulating and fecal markers of inflammation (Il-6, sIgA) and gut barrier function (plasma zonulin) were largely unaffected by DE111 intervention, although the study may have been underpowered to detect these differences. These pilot data provide information and justification to conduct an appropriately powered clinical study to further examine the immunomodulatory potential of B. subtilis DE111 in human populations.

Keywords: Bacillus subtilis; flow cytometry; gastrointestinal health; immune cells; peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC); probiotic; short chain fatty acid.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bacillus subtilis DE11Improved Gastrointestinal HealthNeutral
Bacillus subtilis DE11Increased Anti-Inflammatory Immune Cell PopulationsBeneficial
Bacillus subtilis DE111Increased Anti-Inflammatory Immune Cell PopulationsBeneficial

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