The food and water we consume are often contaminated with a range of chemicals and heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and mercury, that are associated with numerous diseases. Although heavy-metal exposure and contamination are not a recent phenomenon, the concentration of metals and the exposure to populations remain major issues despite efforts at remediation. The ability to prevent and manage this problem is still a subject of much debate, with many technologies ineffective and others too expensive for practical large-scale use, especially for developing nations where major pollution occurs. This has led researchers to seek alternative solutions for decontaminating environmental sites and humans themselves. A number of environmental microorganisms have long been known for their ability to bind metals, but less well appreciated are human gastrointestinal bacteria. Species such as Lactobacillus, present in the human mouth, gut, and vagina and in fermented foods, have the ability to bind and detoxify some of these substances. This review examines the current understanding of detoxication mechanisms of lactobacilli and how, in the future, humans and animals might benefit from these organisms in remediating environmental contamination of food.
Oral candidiasis is often accompanied by severe inflammation, resulting in a decline in the quality of life of immunosuppressed individuals and elderly people. To develop a new oral therapeutic option for candidiasis, a nonpathogenic commensal oral probiotic microorganism, Streptococcus salivarius K12, was evaluated for its ability to modulate Candida albicans growth in vitro, and its therapeutic activity in an experimental oral candidiasis model was tested. In vitro inhibition of mycelial growth of C. albicans was determined by plate assay and fluorescence microscopy. Addition of S. salivarius K12 to modified RPMI 1640 culture medium inhibited the adherence of C. albicans to the plastic petri dish in a dose-dependent manner. Preculture of S. salivarius K12 potentiated its inhibitory activity for adherence of C. albicans. Interestingly, S. salivarius K12 was not directly fungicidal but appeared to inhibit Candida adhesion to the substratum by preferentially binding to hyphae rather than yeast. To determine the potentially anti-infective attributes of S. salivarius K12 in oral candidiasis, the probiotic was administered to mice with orally induced candidiasis. Oral treatment with S. salivarius K12 significantly protected the mice from severe candidiasis. These findings suggest that S. salivarius K12 may inhibit the process of invasion of C. albicans into mucous surfaces or its adhesion to denture acrylic resins by mechanisms not associated with the antimicrobial activity of the bacteriocin. S. salivarius K12 may be useful as a probiotic as a protective tool for oral care, especially with regard to candidiasis.
Candida albicans is the most important Candida species causing vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). VVC has significant medical and economical impact on women's health and wellbeing. While current antifungal treatment is reasonably effective, supportive and preventive measures such as application of probiotics are required to reduce the incidence of VVC. We investigated the potential of the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 towards control of C. albicans. In vitro experiments demonstrated that lactic acid at low pH plays a major role in suppressing fungal growth. Viability staining following cocultures with lactobacilli revealed that C. albicans cells lost metabolic activity and eventually were killed. Transcriptome analyses showed increased expression of stress-related genes and lower expression of genes involved in fluconazole resistance, which might explain the increased eradication of Candida in a previous clinical study on conjoint probiotic therapy. Our results provide insights on the impact of probiotics on C. albicans survival.
Background. There are limited data on high-risk human papillomavirus (hr-HPV) genotypes among HIV-positive women in Africa, and little is known about their relationship with cervical cytology in these populations. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional study among 194 HIV-positive women (143 from Tanzania, and 51 from South Africa) to evaluate HPV genotypes among HIV-positive women with normal and abnormal cytology. Cervical samples were genotyped for HPV types, and slides were evaluated for atypical squamous cell changes according to the Bethesda classification system. Results. Prevalence of high grade squamous intraepithelial dysplasia (HSIL) was 9%. Overall, more than half (56%) of women were infected with an hr-HPV type; 94% of women with HSIL (n = 16), 90% of women with LSIL (n = 35), and 42% of women within normal limits (WNL) (n = 58) tested positive for hr-HPV. Overall, the most prevalent hr-HPV subtypes were HPV16 (26%) and HPV52 (30%). Regional differences in the prevalence of HPV18 and HPV35 were found. Conclusion. Regional differences in HPV genotypes among African women warrant the need to consider different monitoring programmes for cervical preneoplasia. HPV-based screening tests for cervical preneoplasia would be highly inefficient unless coupled with cytology screening of the HPV-positive sample, especially in HIV-positive women.
Urogenital infections are the most common ailments afflicting women. They are treated with dated antimicrobials whose efficacy is diminishing. The process of infection involves pathogen adhesion and displacement of indigenous Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus jensenii. An alternative therapeutic approach to antimicrobial therapy is to reestablish lactobacilli in this microbiome through probiotic administration. We hypothesized that lactobacilli displaying strong adhesion forces with pathogens would facilitate coaggregation between the two strains, ultimately explaining the elimination of pathogens seen in vivo. Using atomic force microscopy, we found that adhesion forces between lactobacilli and three virulent toxic shock syndrome toxin 1-producing Staphylococcus aureus strains, were significantly stronger (2.2–6.4 nN) than between staphylococcal pairs (2.2–3.4 nN), especially for the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 (4.0–6.4 nN) after 120 s of bond-strengthening. Moreover, stronger adhesion forces resulted in significantly larger coaggregates. Adhesion between the bacteria occurred instantly upon contact and matured within one to two minutes, demonstrating the potential for rapid anti-pathogen effects using a probiotic. Coaggregation is one of the recognized mechanisms through which lactobacilli can exert their probiotic effects to create a hostile micro-environment around a pathogen. With antimicrobial options fading, it therewith becomes increasingly important to identify lactobacilli that bind strongly with pathogens.
Recently, the food and malnutrition issues have taken centre stage within the arena of HIV/AIDS epidemic, with several calls being made for context-specific health and nutrition interventions to deal with the emerging food insecurity and malnutrition issues in settings with high burdens of HIV/AIDS. The use of probiotics as nutritional supplements in HIV/AIDS-affected and resource-poor settings has also been advocated. This paper presents the results of a qualitative study on community knowledge and perceptions about probiotics and their potential impact on people's everyday life in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In-depth interviews (n=26) were conducted with residents in Mwanza, Tanzania. The results showed that people living with HIV/AIDS, who were using probiotic yogurt produced through a joint partnership of Western Heads East, Tanzania Medical Research Institute and the Tukwamune Women's Group, reported perceived beneficial effects, such as gain in weight and improved health and well-being. Yet, these beneficial effects might be resulting in growing misconceptions about probiotic yogurt being ‘medicine’ for the treatment of HIV/AIDS; this is leading some people living with HIV/AIDS to abandon taking their antiretroviral medications based on the view that the probiotic yogurt is making them feel much better. The findings illustrate the potential challenges with regard to the introduction of nutritional food supplements into new contexts plagued by malnutrition and infectious diseases. Public-health education and awareness programmes are needed when introducing novel foods into such contexts.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Health; HIV; Nutrition; Perceptions; Probiotics; Qualitative studies; Yogurt; Tanzania
Epithelial cells of the urinary tract recognize pathogenic bacteria through pattern recognition receptors on their surface, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs), and mount an immune response through the activation of the NF-kappaB pathway. Some uropathogenic bacteria can subvert these cellular responses, creating problems with how the host eliminates pathogens. Lactobacillus is a genus of lactic acid bacteria that are part of the microbiota and consist of many probiotic strains, some specifically for urogenital infections. Immunomodulation has emerged as an important mode of action of probiotic and commensal lactobacilli and given the importance of epithelial cells, we evaluated the effect of the urogenital probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 on epithelial immune activation.
Immune activation through the NF-kappaB pathway was initiated by stimulation of T24 urothelial cells with heat-killed Escherichia coli and this was further potentiated when cells were co-cultured with live L. rhamnosus GR-1. Heat-killed lactobacilli were poor activators of NF-kappaB. Concomitant stimulation of bladder cells with E. coli and L. rhamnosus GR-1 increased the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF, whereas IL-6 and CXCL8 levels were reduced. Another probiotic, L. rhamnosus GG, was also able to potentiate NF-kappaB in these cells although at a significantly reduced level compared to the GR-1 strain. The transcript numbers and protein levels of the lipopolysaccharide receptor TLR4 were significantly increased after co-stimulation with E. coli and lactobacilli compared to controls. Furthermore, inhibition of TLR4 activation by polymixin B completely blocked the lactobacilli potentiation of NF-kappaB.
The immunological outcome of E. coli challenge of bladder cells was influenced by probiotic L. rhamnosus GR-1, by enhancing the activation of NF-kappaB and TNF release. Thus the urogenital probiotic L. rhamnosus GR-1 modulated the activation of the NF-kappaB through increased levels of TLR4 on the bladder cells and altered subsequent release of cytokines from urothelial cells. By influencing immunological factors such as TLR4, important in the process of fighting pathogens, lactobacilli could facilitate pathogen recognition and infection clearance.
After menopause, many women experience vaginal dryness and atrophy of tissue, often attributed to the loss of estrogen. An understudied aspect of vaginal health in women who experience dryness due to atrophy is the role of the resident microbes. It is known that the microbiota has an important role in healthy vaginal homeostasis, including maintaining the pH balance and excluding pathogens. The objectives of this study were twofold: first to identify the microbiome of post-menopausal women with and without vaginal dryness and symptoms of atrophy; and secondly to examine any differences in epithelial gene expression associated with atrophy. The vaginal microbiome of 32 post-menopausal women was profiled using Illumina sequencing of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Sixteen subjects were selected for follow-up sampling every two weeks for 10 weeks. In addition, 10 epithelial RNA samples (6 healthy and 4 experiencing vaginal dryness) were acquired for gene expression analysis by Affymetrix Human Gene array. The microbiota abundance profiles were relatively stable over 10 weeks compared to previously published data on premenopausal women. There was an inverse correlation between Lactobacillus ratio and dryness and an increased bacterial diversity in women experiencing moderate to severe vaginal dryness. In healthy participants, Lactobacillus iners and L. crispatus were generally the most abundant, countering the long-held view that lactobacilli are absent or depleted in menopause. Vaginal dryness and atrophy were associated with down-regulation of human genes involved in maintenance of epithelial structure and barrier function, while those associated with inflammation were up-regulated consistent with the adverse clinical presentation.
Background: Micronutrient supplementation has been shown to reduce the progression of HIV but does not have an effect on the intestinal barrier or the intestinal microbiota of HIV patients. Studies have suggested that probiotics could potentially complement micronutrients in preserving the immune-function of HIV patients. Objective: Assess the impact of micronutrient supplemented probiotic yogurt on the immune function of HIV patients. Design:We performed a randomized, double blind, controlled trial with CD4 count as primary outcome among HIV patients naïve to anti-retroviral treatment. Secondary outcomes included hematological parameters, incidence of diarrhea and clinical symptoms. A total of 112 HIV patients were randomized to receive a micronutrient fortified yogurt with (n = 55) or without additional probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 (n = 57) for four weeks. Results:An average decline in CD4 count of −70 cells/μL (95% CI: −154 to −15) was observed in the micronutrient, probiotic group versus a decrease of −63 cells/μL (95% CI: −157 to −30) in the micronutrient control group (p = 0.9). Additional probiotic supplementation was well tolerated and not associated with adverse events. No difference between groups was detected in incidence of diarrhea or clinical symptoms. An improvement of hemoglobin levels was observed for all subjects, based upon a mean difference from baseline of 1.4 g/L (SD = 6) (p = 0.02). Conclusion:The addition of probiotics to a micronutrient fortified yogurt was well tolerated by HIV patients but was not associated with a further increase in CD4 count after one month.
micronutrients; probiotics; HIV; Lactobacillus; immune system
To investigate the impact of IFN-γ-mediated upregulation of MHC Class I expression on tumor-specific T cell cytotoxicity and T cell trafficking into neuroblastoma tumors in vivo.
Restoration of MHC Class I expression by IFN-γ treatment enhances killing of neuroblastoma cells. To understand the potential of this approach in vivo, we developed a novel model of neuroblastoma in which NOD/scid/IL2Rgammanull immunodeficient mice are engrafted with both human T cells and tumor cells.
Here we show enhanced killing of neuroblastoma cells by patient-derived, tumor-specific T cells in vitro. In addition, IFN-γ treatment in vivo induces efficient upregulation of MHC Class I expression on neuroblastoma tumor cells, and this is accompanied by significantly enhanced infiltration of T cells into the tumor. In a pilot clinical trial in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, we similarly observed augmented T cell trafficking into neuroblastoma nests in tumor biopsy specimens obtained from patients after 5 days of systemic IFN-γ therapy.
IFN-γ overcomes critical obstacles to the killing of human neuroblastoma cells by specific T cells. Together, these findings provide a rationale for the further testing of IFN-γ as an approach for improving the efficacy of T cell-based therapies for neuroblastoma and other MHC Class I-deficient malignancies. In addition, we describe a model that may expedite the pre-clinical screening of approaches aimed at augmenting T cell trafficking into human tumors.
In demonstrating that it is feasible to create a community-run kitchen that produces probiotic yogurt, and that this can contribute to the health of people with HIV/AIDS, we embellished the 2001 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) report on probiotics that recommended efforts be made to take probiotics to developing countries. We proved that driven by humanitarian goals not profit, probiotic yogurt can be produced in the world's poor regions. This food can be safely consumed by HIV/AIDS subjects, and in many of them benefits can be accrued in gut health, nutritional and potentially immune status. Such outcomes have a scientific rationale, many social implications, and perhaps most importantly raise the question, why have developed countries not tried harder to bring nutrition-based probiotics to people in need?
probiotics; yogurt; HIV/AIDS; Africa; community kitchen; diarrhea
We developed a low-cost, high-throughput microbiome profiling method that uses combinatorial sequence tags attached to PCR primers that amplify the rRNA V6 region. Amplified PCR products are sequenced using an Illumina paired-end protocol to generate millions of overlapping reads. Combinatorial sequence tagging can be used to examine hundreds of samples with far fewer primers than is required when sequence tags are incorporated at only a single end. The number of reads generated permitted saturating or near-saturating analysis of samples of the vaginal microbiome. The large number of reads allowed an in-depth analysis of errors, and we found that PCR-induced errors composed the vast majority of non-organism derived species variants, an observation that has significant implications for sequence clustering of similar high-throughput data. We show that the short reads are sufficient to assign organisms to the genus or species level in most cases. We suggest that this method will be useful for the deep sequencing of any short nucleotide region that is taxonomically informative; these include the V3, V5 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA genes and the eukaryotic V9 region that is gaining popularity for sampling protist diversity.
Women living with HIV and co-infected with bacterial vaginosis (BV) are at higher risk for transmitting HIV to a partner or newborn. It is poorly understood which bacterial communities constitute BV or the normal vaginal microbiota among this population and how the microbiota associated with BV responds to antibiotic treatment.
Methods and Findings
The vaginal microbiota of 132 HIV positive Tanzanian women, including 39 who received metronidazole treatment for BV, were profiled using Illumina to sequence the V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Of note, Gardnerella vaginalis and Lactobacillus iners were detected in each sample constituting core members of the vaginal microbiota. Eight major clusters were detected with relatively uniform microbiota compositions. Two clusters dominated by L. iners or L. crispatus were strongly associated with a normal microbiota. The L. crispatus dominated microbiota were associated with low pH, but when L. crispatus was not present, a large fraction of L. iners was required to predict a low pH. Four clusters were strongly associated with BV, and were dominated by Prevotella bivia, Lachnospiraceae, or a mixture of different species. Metronidazole treatment reduced the microbial diversity and perturbed the BV-associated microbiota, but rarely resulted in the establishment of a lactobacilli-dominated microbiota.
Illumina based microbial profiling enabled high though-put analyses of microbial samples at a high phylogenetic resolution. The vaginal microbiota among women living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes several profiles associated with a normal microbiota or BV. Recurrence of BV frequently constitutes a different BV-associated profile than before antibiotic treatment.
While the outcome for pediatric patients with lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD) or lymphoid malignancies, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), has improved dramatically, patients often suffer from therapeutic sequelae. Additionally, despite intensified treatment, the prognosis remains dismal for patients with refractory or relapsed disease. Thus, novel biologically targeted treatment approaches are needed. These targets can be identified by understanding how a loss of lymphocyte homeostasis can result in LPD or ALL. Herein, we review potential molecular and cellular therapeutic strategies that (i) target key signaling networks (e.g., PI3K/AKT/mTOR, JAK/STAT, Notch1, and SRC kinase family-containing pathways) which regulate lymphocyte growth, survival, and function; (ii) block the interaction of ALL cells with stromal cells or lymphoid growth factors secreted by the bone marrow microenvironment; or (iii) stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; Lymphoproliferative disorders; ALPS; PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway; JAK/STAT pathway; Notch 1 pathway; Gamma secretase inhibitors; Rapamycin; CpG ODN; NOD/SCID mice; Bone marrow microenvironment
Low serum concentrations of micronutrients, intestinal abnormalities, and an inflammatory state have been associated with HIV progression. These may be ameliorated by micronutrients, N-acetyl cysteine, probiotics, and prebiotics. This review aims to integrate the evidence from clinical trials of these interventions on the progression of HIV. Vitamin B, C, E, and folic acid have been shown to delay the progression of HIV. Supplementation with selenium, N-acetyl cysteine, probiotics, and prebiotics has considerable potential, but the evidence needs to be further substantiated. Vitamin A, iron, and zinc have been associated with adverse effects and caution is warranted for their use.
HIV; AIDS; micronutrients; zinc; selenium; N-acetyl cysteine; probiotics; prebiotics
As with many clinical studies, trials using probiotics have shown clearly that some patients benefit from the treatment while others do not. For example if treatment with probiotics leads to 36% cure rate of diarrhea, why did the other 64% not have the same result? The issue is important for human and indeed experimental animal studies for two main reasons: (i) Would changing the design of the study result in more subjects responding to treatment? (ii) If a subject does not respond what are the mechanistic reasons? In order to tackle the issue of responders and non-responders to therapy, a workshop was held by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). The outcome was four recommendations.
Clearly define the end goal: this could be supporting a health claim or having the highest clinical effect and impact.Design the study to maximize the chance of a positive response by identifying precise parameters and defining the level of response that will be tested.Base the selection of the intervention on scientific investigations: which strain(s) and/or product formulation should be used and why.Carefully select the study cohort: use biological or genetic markers when available to stratify the patient population before enrollment and decide at what point intervention will provide the best outcome (for example, in acute phase of disease, or during remission, with or without use of pharmaceutical agents).
By following these recommendations and selecting an appropriate primary outcome, it is hoped that clinical data will emerge in the future that expands our knowledge of which probiotics benefits which subjects and by what mechanism.
responders; non-responders; probiotics; prebiotics; clinical trial design
The host determinants of susceptibility to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) are poorly understood. We investigated whether the susceptibility is associated with abnormalities in the immunological defense and further explored the linkage to vaginal microbiota. For this purpose, we compared vaginal, urine, and blood samples collected during a disease-free period from 22 women with recurrent UTI and from 17 controls. In UTI-prone women, interleukin-12 (IL-12) production in peripheral monocytes and myeloid dendritic cells (DCs) was significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced whether measured in relative numbers of IL-12-producing cells or in mean IL-12 production per cell. In contrast, no T-cell polarization was observed. Interestingly, it seemed that the cytokine production of DCs and monocytes did not translate into T-cell activation in the UTI-prone group in a manner similar to that seen with the controls. In vaginal mucosa, UTI-prone women had a lower concentration of tissue repair-associated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (P = 0.006) and less often had detectable amounts of the chief monocyte and DC chemoattractant, monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (P = 0.005), than the controls. The microbiota of UTI-prone women was characterized by a diminished lactobacillus morphotype composition, with an abnormally high (>3) mean Nugent score of 4.6 compared to 1.7 for the controls (P = 0.003). Normal lactobacillus composition was associated with increased IL-17 and VEGF concentrations in vaginal mucosa. In conclusion, immunological defects and a persistently aberrant microbiota, a lack of lactobacilli in particular, may contribute to susceptibility to recurrent UTI. Further studies of antigen-presenting-cell function and T-cell activation in recurrent UTI are called for.
The management of urinary tract infection (UTI) in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) continues to be of concern, due to complications that can occur. An emerging concept that is a common underlying pathophysiological process is involved, wherein pathogens causing UTI have a role in inflammatory progression. We hypothesized that members of the commensal flora, such as lactobacilli, may counter this reaction through anti-inflammatory mediation. This was assessed in a pilot two-patient study in which probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri were administered to one patient and placebo to another, both along with antibiotics to treat acute UTI. Urinary TNF-alpha was significantly downregulated (P = .015) in the patient who received the probiotic and who used intermittent catheterization compared with patient on placebo and using an indwelling catheter. The extent to which this alteration resulted in improved well-being in spinal cord injured patients remains to be determined in a larger study.
The human vagina is inhabited by a range of microbes from a pool of over 50 species. Lactobacilli are the most common, particularly in healthy women. The microbiota can change composition rapidly, for reasons that are not fully clear. This can lead to infection or to a state in which organisms with pathogenic potential coexist with other commensals. The most common urogenital infection in premenopausal women is bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition characterized by a depletion of lactobacilli population and the presence of Gram-negative anaerobes, or in some cases Gram-positive cocci, and aerobic pathogens. Treatment of BV traditionally involves the antibiotics metronidazole or clindamycin, however, the recurrence rate remains high, and this treatment is not designed to restore the lactobacilli. In vitro studies have shown that Lactobacillus strains can disrupt BV and yeast biofilms and inhibit the growth of urogenital pathogens. The use of probiotics to populate the vagina and prevent or treat infection has been considered for some time, but only quite recently have data emerged to show efficacy, including supplementation of antimicrobial treatment to improve cure rates and prevent recurrences.
Classified as a distinct species in 1980, Lactobacillus reuteri strains have been used in probiotic formulations for intestinal and urogenital applications. In the former, the primary mechanism of action of L. reuteri SD2112 (ATCC 55730) has been purported to be its ability to produce the antibiotic 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA), also known as reuterin. In the vagina, it has been postulated that probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 does not require reuterin production but mediates a restoration of the normal microbiota via hydrogen peroxide, biosurfactant, lactic acid production, and immune modulation. The aim of the present study was to determine whether strain RC-14 produced reuterin. Using PCR and DNA dot blot analyses, numerous Lactobacillus species, including RC-14, were screened for the presence of the gene encoding the large subunit of glycerol dehydratase (gldC), the enzyme responsible for reuterin production. In addition, lactobacilli were grown in glycerol-based media and both high-performance liquid chromatography and a colorimetric assay were used to test for the presence of reuterin. L. reuteri RC-14 was determined to be negative for gldC sequences, as well as for the production of reuterin when cultured in the presence of glycerol. These findings support that the probiotic effects of L. reuteri RC-14, repeatedly demonstrated during numerous studies of the intestine and vagina, are independent of reuterin production.
Probiotics, defined as ‘live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host’, are finally becoming an option for gastroenterologists in Canada, after being available for many years in Japan, Europe and the United States of America. Unfortunately, Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration have not controlled the use of the term ‘probiotic’ or put into place United Nations and World Health Organization guidelines. The net result is that a host of products called ‘probiotics’ are available but are not truly probiotic. The aim of the present review was to discuss the rationale for probiotics in gastroenterology, and specifically examine which products are options for physicians in Canada, and which ones patients might be using. It is hoped that by clarifying what probiotics are, and the strengths and limitations of their use, specialists will be better placed to make recommendations on the role of these products in patient care. In due course, more clinically documented probiotics will emerge, some with therapeutic effects based on a better understanding of disease processes.
Canada; Gastroenterology; Prevention; Probiotics; Treatment
Culture-dependent PCR-amplified rRNA gene restriction analysis and culture-independent (PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) methodologies were used to examine vaginal lactobacilli from Brazilian women who were healthy or had been diagnosed with vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) or bacterial vaginosis. Only Lactobacillus crispatus was detected accordingly by both methods, and H2O2-producing lactobacilli were not associated with protection against VVC.
Although humans and microbes are inseparable, our knowledge and understanding of the majority of microbes that help keep us alive and well is in desperate need of further investigation. Of the organisms that influence humans before birth and inhabit various niches from birth to old age, we know little about their identity, origin, metabolic properties, attributes and mechanisms of interactions with the host and surrounding microbes. The use of probiotics (“live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”) has re-emerged as a means to restore and boost the beneficial microbes in our bodies. The timing of resurgent interest in this ancient field coincides with the need to augment or replace antibiotics whose side effects are unwelcome and whose efficacy is diminishing due to drug resistance. Evidence that probiotic strains can act as adjuncts to antibiotic therapy by reducing adverse effects, improving antibiotic function and enhancing mucosal immunity is mounting. It is to our discredit that basic research on microbial ecology has been stalled in Canada for the past 20 years. If supported, research into indigenous and probiotic microbes will form an important part of future research that sheds light on health, disease and a basic understanding of life itself. In some cases, probiotics will be the difference between a good quality of life and a bad one, or perhaps even life over death. Improvements in clinical studies, manufacturing and regulatory standards must coincide with this progress to ensure that physicians and consumers have reliable, proven products for safe and efficacious use.
Antibacterial; Antibiotics; Biofilms; Immunity; Infection; Probiotics
To define the term probiotics, to indicate how to identify products that have
been proven beneficial, and to assess the quality of evidence regarding
QUALITY OF EVIDENCE
A few level I studies support the effectiveness of specific probiotics for
certain diagnoses. For most so-called probiotics, however, weak or no
evidence supports their effectiveness.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate
amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Level I evidence supports use
of VSL#3 for maintaining remission of inflammatory colitis. Probiotics for
treating vaginal infections, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1
and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, have level I evidence of
effectiveness, but are not available in Canada. Specific probiotics taken
for certain indications improve health and have few side effects.
Limited but good evidence supports the role of certain probiotics in medical
practice. Because consumer pressure will undoubtedly stimulate further
interest in probiotics, family doctors need to be informed about them so
they can advise their patients appropriately.