In vivo effects of bifidobacteria and lactoferrin on gut endotoxin concentration and mucosal immunity in Balb/c mice

Dig Dis Sci. 2004 Apr;49(4):579-89. doi: 10.1023/


The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of oral supplementation of newborn Balb/c mice with bifidobacteria (B. infantis, B. bifidum) and iron-free apo-lactoferrin (bovine, human) on gut endotoxin concentration and mucosal immunity. Endotoxin concentration was measured in ileocecal filtrates at 7, 14, 21, and 28 days postdelivery by a quantitative limulus amebocyte lysate test. While endotoxin levels in bifidobacteria-fed mice showed a steady rise over time, they were consistently lower than that observed in control animals. Results of lactoferrin supplementation varied depending on the specific time point, but overall by day 28, all treatment groups showed lower intestinal endotoxin concentrations compared to saline fed animals. Neither bifidobacteria nor lactoferrin stimulated an increase in B or T cells, or in cytokine production (IL-6, TNF-alpha, INF-gamma), in Peyer's patches as measured by flow cytometry. Bifidobacteria and lactoferrin were well tolerated as dietary supplements and showed promising potential to reduce gut endotoxin levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Biomarkers
  • Culture Techniques
  • Endotoxins / analysis
  • Endotoxins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunity, Mucosal / physiology*
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interleukin-6 / analysis
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology*
  • Limulus Test
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Endotoxins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Lactoferrin