The impact of probiotics and prebiotics on the immune system

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Oct;12(10):728-34. doi: 10.1038/nri3312.


Probiotics and prebiotics are increasingly being added to foodstuffs with claims of health benefits. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are thought to have beneficial effects on the host, whereas prebiotics are ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or function of beneficial intestinal microorganisms. But can these products directly modulate immune function and influence inflammatory diseases? Here, Nature Reviews Immunology asks four experts to discuss these issues and provide their thoughts on the future application of probiotics as a disease therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Immunomodulation
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics*


  • Prebiotics