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Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 is a probiotic bacterium used to maintain urogenital health. The putative mechanism for its probiotic effect is by modulating the host immunity. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are often caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli that frequently evade or suppress immune responses in the bladder and can target pathways, including nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB). We evaluated the role of L. rhamnosus GR-1 on NF-κB activation in E. coli-stimulated bladder cells. Viable L. rhamnosus GR-1 was found to potentiate NF-κB activity in E. coli-stimulated T24 bladder cells, whereas heat-killed lactobacilli demonstrated a marginal increase in NF-κB activity. Surface components released by trypsin- or LiCl treatment, or the resultant heat-killed shaved lactobacilli, had no effect on NF-κB activity. Isolation of released products from L. rhamnosus GR-1 demonstrated that the induction of NF-κB activity was owing to released product(s) with a relatively large native size. Several putative immunomodulatory proteins were identified, namely GroEL, elongation factor Tu and NLP/P60. GroEL and elongation factor Tu have previously been shown to elicit immune responses from human cells. Isolating and using immune-augmenting substances produced by lactobacilli is a novel strategy for the prevention or treatment of UTI caused by immune-evading E. coli.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1Improved Immune ResponseBeneficial
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