Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model

Immunobiology. 2007;212(8):647-54. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2007.05.004. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


Kefir is a microbial symbiont mixture that produces jelly-like grains. As a widely used neutraceutical, however, the therapeutic applicability of kefir is not certain. In order to investigate the pharmacological effects of kefir, we used a mouse asthma model, in which airway inflammation and airway remodeling was produced by ovalbumin sensitization and challenge. BALB/c mice sensitized and challenged to ovalbumin, were treated with kefir (50mg/kg administered by intra-gastric mode) 1h before the ovalbumin challenge. Kefir significantly suppressed ovalbumin-induced airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) to inhaled methacholine. Intra-gastric administration of kefir significantly inhibited the increase in the total inflammatory cell count induced by ovalbumin, and the eosinophil count in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Type 2 helper T cell (Th2) cytokines, such as interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, and total immunoglobulin E (Ig E) levels, were also reduced to normal levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Histological studies demonstrate that kefir substantially inhibited ovalbumin-induced eosinophilia in lung tissue and mucus hyper-secretion by goblet cells in the airway. Kefir displayed anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects in a mouse asthma model and may possess new therapeutic potential for the treatment of allergic bronchial asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / diet therapy
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / diet therapy
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / immunology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / prevention & control
  • Cultured Milk Products / chemistry
  • Cultured Milk Products / immunology*
  • Cytokines
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Ovalbumin


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin