Skip to main content

Probiotic treatment induces intestinal regulatory dendritic and T cells, and counter-regulates Th2 responses and anaphylaxis in a mouse model of food allergy

The immunological mechanisms responsible for the anti-allergic effects of probiotic bacteria are still poorly defined. We tested the effect of a probiotic mixture (VSL#3) in in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo mouse systems. In vitro co-culture of naïve bone marrow(BM)-derived DC (BM-DC) with VSL#3 induced the up-regulation of maturation marker and IL-10 and IL-12 production. Ex vivo analysis of mesenteric lymph node(MLN)-derived DC (MLN-DC) from naïve mice receiving for three weeks VSL#3 by oral administration, indicated a different distribution and phenotype of DC within the MLN. In particular, VSL#3 treatment increased the frequency of plasmacytoid DC (pDC, B220+CD11clow), and upregulated the expression of maturation markers on conventional DC (cDC). Moreover, the frequency of IL-10-expressing cDC was increased. This finding was paralleled by the increase of CD4+CD25+ T cells and CD4+CD25- populations showing enhanced IL-10 production. Altogether, these results suggest that VSL#3 treatment can stimulate in the gut the activation of tolerogenic DC. Finally, we obtained in vivo preliminary data on therapeutic and preventive potential of VSL#3 in a mouse model of sensitization and anaphylaxis to peanut. Mice were orally sensitized and challenged with peanut extract to induce in vivo anaphylaxis. In the therapeutic experimental setting, animals received a three-weeks oral treatment with VSL#3 and were then re-challenged. In the preventive setting, oral probiotic treatment started one week before the beginning of the immunization schedule and continued until the challenge. In both approaches, VSL#3 was able to reduce anaphylaxis symptoms and IL-13 release in the jejunum of immunized mice upon post-treatment challenge. Furthermore, the therapeutic approach also induced allergen-specific IgA in the gut and TGF-β release. Then, the capacity of probiotics to induce protective immune responses linked to counter-regulation of Th2 responses might become an effective strategy in the treatment of type I allergy.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elisa Schiavi.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schiavi, E., Barletta, B., Barone, A. et al. Probiotic treatment induces intestinal regulatory dendritic and T cells, and counter-regulates Th2 responses and anaphylaxis in a mouse model of food allergy. Clin Transl Allergy 1, O30 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Food Allergy
  • Mesenteric Lymph Node
  • Probiotic Bacterium
  • Immunize Mouse
  • Protective Immune Response