The cross-talk between the mucosa-associated immune system and microbiota is critical in mucosal tissue homeostasis as well as in protection against infectious and inflammatory diseases occurring at mucosal sites. This recent evidence has paved the way to therapeutic approaches aimed at modulating the mucosa-associated immune system using probiotics. Different strains of probiotics possess the ability to finely regulate dendritic cell (DC) activation, polarizing the subsequent T cell activity toward Th1 (e.g. Lactobacillus (Lb) acidophilus), Th2 (Lb.reuteri and Bifidobacterium bifidum) or, as more recently demonstrated, Th17 responses induced by specific strains such as Lb.rhamnosus GG and Lac23a, the latter isolated in our laboratory. Here, we review some recent advances in our understanding of probiotics effects on mucosal immunology, particularly on cells of the innate immunity such as DCs. We also highlight our own experiences in modulating DC functions by commensal bacteria and discuss the relevance of probiotics administration in the treatment of human immunopathologies.
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Research in the authors’ laboratory is supported by Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) IG11650 (to Dr. Ferlazzo). The authors are grateful to Claudio Naccari for his help in drawing the figure.
No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.
Drs. Dongarrà and Rizzello has an equal contribution to this paper, and Drs. Bonaccorsi and Ferlazzo also contributed equally to this paper.
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Dongarrà, M.L., Rizzello, V., Muccio, L. et al. Mucosal Immunology and Probiotics. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 13, 19–26 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11882-012-0313-0
- Commensal bacteria
- Dendritic cells
- T- cell polarization
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Immune-mediated diseases
- Mucosal immunology