The D-alanine content of lipoteichoic acid is crucial for Lactobacillus plantarum-mediated protection from visceral pain perception in a rat colorectal distension model

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2008 Jul;20(7):843-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01085.x. Epub 2008 Feb 25.


The mechanisms leading to positive effects of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease have not been clarified, but the possible involvement of cell wall components is widely discussed. Reduction of the D-alanine content of lipoteichoic acid (LTA) in Lactobacillus plantarum (Dlt(-) mutant) enhanced its anti-inflammatory properties in a mouse colitis model. Another lactobacillus species inhibited visceral pain perception in response to colorectal distension (CRD) in rats. Therefore, we investigated if LTA modification influences the constitutive intestinal pain perception in addition to modulation of cytokine release. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were gavaged with L. plantarum, L. plantarum Dlt(-) mutant or buffer control, respectively and the responses to CRD were tested in this non-inflammatory model. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF), interferon (IFN)-gamma and interleukin (IL)-10 release were measured in colon tissue homogenates and upon anti-CD3/CD28 activation of isolated splenocytes and mesenteric lymphocytes. Control animals showed significant bradycardia following noxious CRD, whereas only the L. plantarum Dlt(-) mutant inhibited the response. The mutant also decreased the activation-induced release of TNF and IFN-gamma from mesenteric T cells and the IL-10 concentration in colonic tissue, while increasing the activation-induced secretion of IL-10 in splenocytes and mesenteric lymphocytes and the baseline IL-10 release of splenocytes. In conclusion, d-alanine depletion of LTA in L. plantarum inhibited visceral pain perception in healthy, non-inflamed rats. Regardless of the non-inflammatory nature of the model decreased visceral pain perception was seen in parallel with anti-inflammatory properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / metabolism*
  • Alanine / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dilatation, Pathologic*
  • Heart Rate
  • Inflammation
  • Lactobacillus plantarum* / chemistry
  • Lactobacillus plantarum* / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rectum / pathology*
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry*


  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Teichoic Acids
  • lipoteichoic acid
  • Alanine