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Mechanism of protection of transepithelial barrier function by Lactobacillus salivarius: strain dependence and attenuation by bacteriocin production.

  • 2012-11-01
  • American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 303(9)
    • E. Miyauchi
    • J. O'callaghan
    • L. Buttó
    • G. Hurley
    • S. Melgar
    • S. Tanabe
    • F. Shanahan
    • K. Nally
    • P. O’Toole


Enhanced barrier function is one mechanism whereby commensals and probiotic bacteria limit translocation of foreign antigens or pathogens in the gut. However, barrier protection is not exhibited by all probiotic or commensals and the strain-specific molecules involved remain to be clarified. We evaluated the effects of 33 individual Lactobacillus salivarius strains on the hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced barrier impairment in human epithelial Caco-2 cells. These strains showed markedly different effects on H(2)O(2)-induced reduction in transepithelial resistance (TER). The effective strains such as UCC118 and CCUG38008 attenuated H(2)O(2)-induced disassembly and relocalization of tight junction proteins, but the ineffective strain AH43324 did not. Strains UCC118 and CCUG38008 induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in Caco-2 cells, and the ERK inhibitor U0126 attenuated the barrier-protecting effect of these strains. In contrast, the AH43324 strain induced phosphorylation of Akt and p38, which was associated with an absence of a protective effect. Global transcriptome analysis of UCC118 and AH43324 revealed that some genes in a bacteriocin gene cluster were upregulated in AH43324 under TER assay conditions. A bacteriocin-negative UCC118 mutant displayed significantly greater suppressive effect on H(2)O(2)-induced reduction in TER compared with wild-type UCC118. The wild-type strain augmented H(2)O(2)-induced phosphorylation of Akt and p38, whereas a bacteriocin-negative UCC118 mutant did not. These observations indicate that L. salivarius strains are widely divergent in their capacity for barrier protection, and this is underpinned by differences in the activation of intracellular signaling pathways. Furthermore, bacteriocin production appears to have an attenuating influence on lactobacillus-mediated barrier protection.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118Improved Intestinal Barrier FunctionBeneficial
Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118Reduced Transepithelial ResistanceNeutral
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