Dietary supplementation of milk fermented with probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum enhances systemic immune response and antioxidant capacity in aging mice

Nutr Res. 2014 Nov;34(11):968-81. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.09.006. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


Although probiotics are known to enhance the host immune response, their roles in modulating immunosenescence, resisting infection, and improving redox homeostasis during aging remain unclear. Therefore, the present study was devised in aging mice to assess the antiimmunosenescence potential from the consumption of milk that is fermented with probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum MTCC 5898 (LF). We hypothesized that probiotic supplementation would boost immunity, improve antioxidant capacity, and resist severity of pathogenic infection in aging mice. To test this hypothesis, during a trial period of 2 months, 16-month-old male Swiss mice were kept on 3 experimental diets: basal diet (BD), BD supplemented with skim milk, and BD supplemented with probiotic LF-fermented milk. A concurrent analysis of several immunosenescence markers that include neutrophil functions, interleukins profile, inflammation and antibody responses in the intestine as well as analysis of antioxidant enzymes in the liver and red blood cells was performed. Neutrophil respiratory burst enzymes and phagocytosis increased significantly in probiotic LF-fed groups, whereas no exacerbation in plasma levels of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 and tumor necrosis factor α was observed. Splenocytes registered increased interferon-γ but decreased interleukin 4 and interleukin 10 production, whereas humoral antibodies registered decreases in immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1)/IgG2a ratio and IgE levels in the probiotic-fed groups. Antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase) in LF-fed groups showed increased activities, which were more pronounced in the liver than in red blood cell. An Escherichia coli-based infection model in aging mice was also designed to validate the protective attributes of LF. Administration of probiotic LF significantly reduced E coli population in organs (intestine, liver, spleen, and peritoneal fluid), as compared with control groups, by enhancing E coli-specific antibodies and inflammatory proteins. Based on these results, it appears that LF supplementation alleviated immunosenescence, enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities, and resisted E coli infection in aging mice; thereby, signifying its potential in augmenting healthy aging.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Immunosenescence; Infection; Inflammaging; Lactobacillus; Mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / immunology
  • Fermentation
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Lactobacillus fermentum*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / microbiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma