BACKGROUND: Oral administration of probiotics is known to modulate cytokines profile not only locally, but also systemically. Four strains of Lactobacillus salivarius, LDR0723, BNL1059, RGS1746 and CRL1528, were evaluated for their ability to modulate release of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. FINDINGS: Strains were assessed for effects on production of Interleukin-12 (IL-12), Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and Interleukin-5 (IL-5) by incubating bacterial suspensions with THP-1 macrophage like cells. Cytokines were determined by means of specific quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.LDR0723 and CRL1528 led to a sustained increment in production of IL-12 and IFN-gamma and to a decrease in release of IL-4 and IL-5, while BNL1059 and RGS1746 favoured Th2 response, leading to a decrease in Th1/Th2 ratio with respect to unstimulated cells. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, capability of L. salivarius to modulate immune response was strictly strain dependent and strains of the same species might have opposite effects. Therefore, a careful evaluation of anti-inflammatory properties of lactobacilli should be performed on single strain, before any consideration on potential probiotic use.
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