The effect of a multi-strain probiotic on the resistance toward Escherichia coli challenge in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;69(3):385-91. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.238. Epub 2014 Nov 5.


Background: Several probiotic strains have been shown to enhance human resistance to infectious disease. It is speculated that these strains may impose this effect by excretion of anti-microbial components, by competing with pathogens for intestinal nutrients and/or mucosal adhesion sites or modulating the immune system.

Objective: A parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled 4-week intervention was performed in healthy males, to study the effect of a blend of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11, Bifidobacterium longum ssp. longum Rosell-175) and a probiotic yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae var boulardii CNCM I-1079) on enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) challenge. Primary outcomes studied were fecal ETEC excretion and total fecal output per day.

Subjects/methods: Subjects were randomized to the probiotic (5 × 10(9) colony-forming units (CFUs); twice daily; n=30) or placebo group (twice daily; n=30). After 2 weeks, subjects were orally challenged with a live attenuated ETEC (3 × 10(9) CFU), previously demonstrated to induce mild, short-lived symptoms of a foodborne infection. Before and after ETEC challenge, subjects collected 24 h fecal samples. Compliance to study guidelines, stool consistency (Bristol Stool Score), stool frequency, and frequency and severity of gastrointestinal (GI) complaints were recorded by the subjects on a Daily Record Questionnaire.

Results: ETEC challenge induced a significant increase in fecal ETEC excretion in both groups. However, a statistically significant increase in fecal output was only observed in the probiotic group. ETEC challenge resulted in a decrease in the percentage of fecal dry weight, and an increase in reported Bristol Stool Score, stool frequency and GI complaints. Dietary probiotics significantly decreased the percentage of fecal dry weight. In addition, ETEC increased C-reactive protein, total secretory Immunoglobulin A (IgA) and Immunoglobulin G Colonization Factor Antigen II.

Conclusion: Dietary probiotics did not increase resistance to oral attenuated ETEC challenge in human subjects.

Trial registration: NCT01709266.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Defecation*
  • Diarrhea / microbiology*
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control
  • Escherichia coli*
  • Feces* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Male
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult

Associated data