Specific proliferative and antibody responses of premature infants to intestinal colonization with nonpathogenic probiotic E. coli strain Nissle 1917

Scand J Immunol. 2002 Feb;55(2):204-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3083.2002.01005.x.


The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of oral administration of E. coli Nissle 1917 on the systemic humoral and cellular immunity in premature infants. Thirty-four premature infants were colonized with E. coli Nissle 1917 in a randomized, placebo-controlled blinded clinical trial. Stool samples of infants were analyzed repeatedly for the presence of the administered strain. The proliferative response to bacterial antigens of E. coli origin was measured in whole blood of 34 colonized infants and 27 noncolonized controls. E. coli colonization induced a significant increase in the proliferation of blood cells cultivated with bacterial components of E. coli Nissle 1917 and another E. coli strain in colonized infants as compared with noncolonized controls. Significantly higher amounts of specific anti-E. coli Nissle 1917 antibodies (Ab) of immunoglobulin (Ig)A isotype and nonspecific polyclonal IgM were found in the blood of colonized infants compared to noncolonized placebo controls. We concluded that the oral application of E. coli Nissle 1917 after birth significantly stimulates specific humoral and cellular responses and simultaneously induces nonspecific natural immunity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoglobulin A / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin M / biosynthesis
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Probiotics* / administration & dosage


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin M