Probiotic agents, live microorganisms with beneficial effects for the host, may offer an alternative to conventional antimicrobials in the treatment and prevention of enteric infections. The probiotic agents Lactobacillus plantarum 299v and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG quantitatively inhibited the adherence of an attaching and effacing pathogenic Escherichia coli to HT-29 intestinal epithelial cells but did not inhibit adherence to nonintestinal HEp-2 cells. HT-29 cells were grown under conditions that induced high levels of either MUC2 or MUC3 mRNA, but HEp-2 cells expressed only minimal levels of MUC2 and no MUC3 mRNA. Media enriched for MUC2 and MUC3 mucin were added exogenously to binding assays and were shown to be capable of inhibiting enteropathogen adherence to HEp-2 cells. Incubation of L. plantarum 299v with HT-29 cells increased MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA expression levels. From these in vitro studies, we propose the hypothesis that the ability of probiotic agents to inhibit adherence of attaching and effacing organisms to intestinal epithelial cells is mediated through their ability to increase expression of MUC2 and MUC3 intestinal mucins.