Inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 attachment by interactions between lactic acid bacteria and intestinal epithelial cells

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Jul;18(7):1278-85.


The intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) layer of the intestinal tract makes direct contact with a number of microbiota communities, including bacteria known to have deleterious health effects. IECs possess innate protective strategies against pathogenic challenge, which primarily involve the formation of a physicochemical barrier. Intestinal tract mucins are principal components of the mucus layer on epithelial surfaces, and perform a protective function against microbial damage. However, little is currently known regarding the interactions between probiotics/pathogens and epithelial cell mucins. The principal objective of this study was to determine the effects of Lactobacillus on the upregulation of MUC2 mucin and the subsequent inhibition of E. coli O157:H7 attachment to epithelial cells. In the current study, the attachment of E. coli O157:H7 to HT-29 intestinal epithelial cells was inhibited significantly by L. acidophilus A4 and its cell extracts. It is also important to note that the expression of MUC2 mucin was increased as the result of the addition of L. acidophilus A4 cell extracts (10.0 mg/ml), which also induced a significant reduction in the degree to which E. coli O157:H7 attached to epithelial cells. In addition, the mRNA levels of IL-8, IL-1beta, and TNF-alpha in HT-29 cells were significantly induced by treatment with L. acidophilus A4 extracts. These results indicate that MUC2 mucin and cytokines are important regulatory factors in the immune systems of the gut, and that selected lactobacilli may be able to induce the upregulation of MUC2 mucin and specific cytokines, thereby inhibiting the attachment of E. coli O157:H7.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Lactobacillus / physiology*
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins / genetics
  • Mucins / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • MUC2 protein, human
  • Mucin-2
  • Mucins