Modulation of Th1/Th2 balance by Lactobacillus strains isolated from Kimchi via stimulation of macrophage cell line J774A.1 in vitro

J Food Sci. 2011 Mar;76(2):H55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.02031.x.


Lactobacilli isolated from Kimchi, a Korean traditional food, were tested for their capacity to modulate the T helper (Th) 1/Th2 balance. Ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mouse splenocytes were cultured with 26 strains of lactobacilli; the highest IL-12 induction and lowest IL-4 production were then observed in 4 strains, including Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP55, CJLP56, CJLP133, and CJLP136. These strains produced a larger amount of IL-12, which enhances differentiation and activation of Th1 cells, in macrophage cell-lines more than positive control strains L. casei KCTC 3109(T) and L. rhamnosus GG, although they also induced production of IL-10, which is a suppressor of IL-12. Indeed, CJLP133-stimulated macrophages induced production of more Th1 cytokine IFN-γ and less Th2 cytokine IL-4 than KCTC 3109(T) and GG in co-cultivation with T cells. These findings suggest that lactobacilli from Kimchi may modulate the Th1/Th2 balance via macrophage activation in the hypersensitive reaction caused by Th2 cells.

Practical application: Allergic reactions including asthma and atopy are caused by predominance of Th2 response over Th1 response. Lactobacilli isolated from fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, and Kimchi showed health-promoting activities. The present study indicated that several lactobacilli strains from Kimchi may reduce allergic reactions through macrophage-mediated induction of Th1 response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Fermentation
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology
  • Interleukin-4 / immunology
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism*
  • Macrophage Activation*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1-Th2 Balance / drug effects*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Ovalbumin