Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG reduces aflatoxin B1 transport, metabolism, and toxicity in Caco-2 Cells

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jun;73(12):3958-64. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02944-06. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is able to bind the potent hepatocarcinogen aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and thus potentially restrict its rapid absorption from the intestine. In this study we investigated the potential of GG to reduce AFB1 availability in vitro in Caco-2 cells adapted to express cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 3A4, such that both transport and toxicity could be assessed. Caco-2 cells were grown as confluent monolayers on transmembrane filters for 21 days prior to all studies. AFB1 levels in culture medium were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. In CYP 3A4-induced monolayers, AFB1 transport from the apical to the basolateral chamber was reduced from 11.1%+/-1.9% to 6.4%+/-2.5% (P=0.019) and to 3.3%+/-1.8% (P=0.002) within the first hour in monolayers coincubated with GG (1x10(10) and 5x10(10) CFU/ml, respectively). GG (1x10(10) and 5x10(10) CFU/ml) bound 40.1%+/-8.3% and 61.0%+/-6.0% of added AFB1 after 1 h, respectively. AFB1 caused significant reductions of 30.1% (P=0.01), 49.4% (P=0.004), and 64.4% (P<0.001) in transepithelial resistance after 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively. Coincubation with 1x10(10) CFU/ml GG after 24 h protected against AFB1-induced reductions in transepithelial resistance at both 24 h (P=0.002) and 48 h (P=0.04). DNA fragmentation was apparent in cells treated only with AFB1 cells but not in cells coincubated with either 1x10(10) or 5x10(10) CFU/ml GG. GG reduced AFB1 uptake and protected against both membrane and DNA damage in the Caco-2 model. These data are suggestive of a beneficial role of GG against dietary exposure to aflatoxin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / metabolism*
  • Aflatoxin B1 / toxicity*
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus / metabolism*
  • Probiotics / metabolism*


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • CYP3A4 protein, human