DNA from probiotic bacteria modulates murine and human epithelial and immune function

Gastroenterology. 2004 May;126(5):1358-73. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2004.02.003.


Background & aims: The intestinal epithelium must discriminate between pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria and respond accordingly. The aim of this study was to examine whether bacterial DNA can serve as the molecular basis for bacterial recognition.

Methods: HT-29 monolayers were treated with various bacterial DNA and interleukin (IL)-8 secretion measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, nuclear factor kappaB activation by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and reporter assays, and IkappaB levels by Western blotting. Cytokine secretion in response to bacterial DNA was measured in murine colonic segments and splenocytes. IL-10-deficient mice were fed DNA from VSL probiotic compound daily for 2 weeks. Colons were removed and analyzed for cytokine production and inflammation.

Results: HT-29 cells responded with IL-8 secretion to bacterial DNA in a differential manner. In the presence of proinflammatory stimuli, VSL3 DNA inhibited IL-8 secretion, reduced p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, delayed nuclear factor kappaB activation, stabilized levels of IkappaB, and inhibited proteasome function. VSL3 DNA inhibited colonic interferon (IFN)-gamma secretion in mouse colons and also attenuated a Bacteroides vulgatus-induced IFN-gamma release from murine splenocytes. In mice, VSL3 DNA attenuated a systemic release of tumor necrosis factor alpha in response to Escherichia coli DNA injection. Treatment of IL-10-deficient mice with oral VSL3 DNA resulted in a reduction in mucosal secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha and IFN-gamma and an improvement in histologic disease.

Conclusions: DNA from probiotic bacteria can limit epithelial proinflammatory responses in vivo and in vitro. Systemic and oral administration of VSL3 DNA ameliorates inflammatory responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • DNA, Bacterial / administration & dosage
  • DNA, Bacterial / pharmacology*
  • Enteritis / prevention & control*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins / metabolism
  • Injections
  • Interferon-gamma / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-10 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-8 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / drug effects
  • NF-kappa B / physiology
  • Probiotics / chemistry*
  • Salmonella / genetics
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • Interleukin-8
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases