Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 204, Issue 4, pp 527–538 | Cite as

Influence of a probiotic Lactobacillus casei strain on the colonisation with potential pathogenic streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus in the nasopharyngeal space of healthy men with a low baseline NK cell activity

  • Charles M. A. P. FranzEmail author
  • Melanie Huch
  • Stephanie Seifert
  • Jeannette Kramlich
  • Achim Bub
  • Gyu-Sung Cho
  • Bernhard Watzl
Original Investigation


The effect of a daily intake of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on the colonisation of pathogens, specifically streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus, in the nose and throat of healthy human volunteers with low natural killer cell activity, was investigated in a randomised and controlled intervention study. The study consisted of a 2-week run-in phase, followed by a 4-week intervention phase. The probiotic treatment group received a fermented milk drink with LcS, while the placebo group received an equally composed milk drink without the probiotic additive. To isolate potential pathogenic streptococci and Staph. aureus, samples from the pharynx, as well as of both middle nasal meati, were taken, once after the run-in phase and once at the end of the intervention phase. Isolated bacteria were identified as either Staph. aureus and α- or β-haemolytic streptococci in a polyphasic taxonomical approach based on phenotypic tests, amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis genotyping, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing of representative strains. Salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) was used as marker of protective mucosal immunity to evaluate whether LcS treatment influenced SIgA production. No statistically significant effect could be determined for intervention with LcS on the incidence of Staph. aureus in the nasal space, Staph. aureus in the pharyngeal space or for β-haemolytic streptococci and Streptococcus pneumoniae in the pharyngeal space. Thus, the intervention did not influence the nasopharyngeal colonisation with Gram-positive potential pathogens. Production of salivary SIgA as a potential means of microbiota modulation was also not affected.


Probiotic Immunomodulation Secretory IgA Streptococcus Staphylococcus Throat colonisation 



This work was supported in part by Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. The authors thank M. Brossart, E. Hoch, U. Stadler-Prayle, L. Uhlmann, and I. Specht for their excellent technical assistance.

Conflict of interest

Stephanie Seifert was supported in part by a grant of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. Melanie Huch, Jeannette Kramlich, Achim Bub, Gyu-Sung Cho, Bernhard Watzl, and Charles M.A.P. Franz declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles M. A. P. Franz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melanie Huch
    • 1
  • Stephanie Seifert
    • 2
  • Jeannette Kramlich
    • 1
  • Achim Bub
    • 2
  • Gyu-Sung Cho
    • 1
  • Bernhard Watzl
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Safety and Quality of Fruit and VegetablesMax Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and FoodKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of NutritionMax Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and FoodKarlsruheGermany

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