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Lactobacillus johnsonii (Ljo) N6.2 has been shown to mitigate the development of type 1 diabetes when administered to diabetes-prone rats. The specific mechanisms underlying this observed response remain under investigation. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of Ljo N6.2 on mucosal inflammatory response using differentiated Caco-2 monolayers. The mRNA expression levels of CCL20, CXCL8, and CXCL10 chemokines were determined by qRT-PCR. Ljo at 10(11) CFU/L induced a strong response in all chemokines examined. To assess the specific host-signaling pathways involved, we performed RT-PCR amplification of Toll-like receptors (TLR) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors. TLR7 and TLR9 expression levels were induced 4.2- and 9-fold, respectively, whereas other TLR and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain receptors were not modified. A similar effect was observed in Caco-2 monolayers treated with Ljo cell-free extract or purified nucleic acids (NA). Increased levels of IFN type 1 and IFN regulators Stat1 and IRF7 followed the upregulation of TLR9. Activation of TLR9 was also evidenced by increased Frizzled 5 expression in Ljo-treated Caco-2 cells and an increase in the number of Paneth cells in Ljo-fed, diabetes-prone rats. These results are in agreement with the polarizing-tolerizing mechanism recently described in which the apical stimulation of TLR9 in intestinal epithelial cells leads to a higher state of immunologic alertness. Furthermore, these results suggest that live probiotics could be, in the future, replaced with select cellular components.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Enhanced Innate Immune ResponseBeneficial
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Increased Paneth Cell Number in Intestinal CryptsBeneficial
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