Immunomodulatory effects of probiotic bacteria DNA: IL-1 and IL-10 response in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003 Sep 22;38(2):165-72. doi: 10.1016/S0928-8244(03)00144-5.


A new therapeutic approach for inflammatory bowel diseases is based on the administration of probiotic bacteria. Prokaryotic DNA contains unmethylated CpG motifs which can activate immune responses, but it is unknown whether bacterial DNA is involved in the beneficial effects obtained by probiotic treatment. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy donors were incubated with pure DNA of eight probiotic strains and with total bacterial DNA from human feces collected before and after probiotic ingestion. Cytokine production was analyzed in culture supernatants. Modification of human microflora after probiotic administration was proven by polymerase chain reaction analysis. Here we show that Bifidobacterium genomic DNA induced secretion of the antiinflammatory interleukin-10 by PBMC. Total bacterial DNA from feces collected after probiotic administration modulated the immune response by a decrease of interleukin-1 beta and an increase of interleukin-10.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium* / genetics
  • Bifidobacterium* / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Probiotics*
  • Up-Regulation


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukins
  • Interleukin-10