VSL#3 probiotics provide protection against acute intestinal ischaemia/reperfusion injury

Benef Microbes. 2013 Dec 1;4(4):357-365. doi: 10.3920/BM2013.0026.


Acute intestinal ischaemia/reperfusion injury (AII/R) is an adaptive physiologic response during critical illness, involving mesenteric vasoconstriction and hypoperfusion. Prevention of AII/R in high risk patient populations would have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the protective effects of VSL#3 probiotic treatment in a murine model of AII/R. Adult 129/SvEv mice were subjected to an experimental AII/R model using superior mesenteric artery occlusion. Animals were pre-treated with either three days or two weeks of VSL#3 probiotics. Local tissue injury markers were assessed by levels of myeloperoxidase and activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFкB). Systemic and local cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL- 10, TNFα, and interferon gamma were measured by ELISA and multiplex fluorescent detection. VSL#3 probiotics reduced local tissue inflammation and injury due to AII/R. A two-week course of VSL#3 was more effective than a shorter three-day course. The reduction in local inflammation from the two-week course of VSL#3 is correlated to a significant reduction in levels of active IL-1β, and tissue levels of myeloperoxidase. Levels of active NFкB were significantly elevated in the vehicle-fed AII/R mice, corroborating with tissue inflammation, which were attenuated by VSL#3 administrations. VSL#3 did not cause any systemic inflammation or lung injury. VSL#3 probiotics are effective in reducing local tissue injury from AII/R by down-regulating pro-inflammatory mediators and immune cell recruitment. This study highlights a potential role for VSL#3 in management of patients at high risk for AII/R.

Keywords: IL-1β; NFкB; inflammation; myeloperoxidase; small intestine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Intestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Ischemia / complications*
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / analysis
  • Peroxidase / analysis
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Peroxidase