Probiotics are effective for the prevention and treatment of citrobacter rodentium-induced colitis in mice

David M. Rodrigues, Andrew J. Sousa, Kathene C. Johnson-Henry, Philip M. Sherman, Melanie Gareau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background. Probiotics prevent disease induced by Citrobacter rodentium, a murine-specific enteric pathogen. Whether probiotics can be used to interrupt the infectious process following initiation of infection was determined. Methods. C57BL/6 adult and neonatal mice were challenged with C. rodentium, and a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus was provided 1 week before bacterial challenge, concurrently with infection, or 3 days and 6 days after infection. Mice were sacrificed 10 days after infection, and disease severity was assessed by histological analysis and in vivo intestinal permeability assay. Inflammatory pathways and the composition of the fecal microbiome were assessed in adult mice. Results. Preadministration and coadministration of probiotics ameliorated C. rodentium-induced barrier dysfunction, epithelial hyperplasia, and binding of the pathogen to host colonocytes in adults, with similar findings in neonatal mice. Upregulated tumor necrosis factor α and interferon γ transcripts were suppressed in the pretreated probiotic group, whereas interleukin 17 transcription was suppressed with probiotics given up to 3 days after infection. Probiotics promoted transcription of interleukin 10 and FOXP3, and increased follicular T-regulatory cells in pretreatment mice. C. rodentium infection resulted in an altered fecal microbiome, which was normalized with probiotic intervention. Conclusions. This study provides evidence that probiotics can prevent illness and treat disease in an animal model of infectious colitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy


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