The effect of non-viable Lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL1505 and its cell wall and peptidoglycan on respiratory immunity in malnourished mice was studied. Weaned mice were malnourished with a protein-free diet for 21d and received BCD during 7d (BCD) or BCD with nasal non-viable L. rhamnosus CRL1505 (BCD+UV) or its cell wall (BCD+CW) or peptidoglycan (BCD+PG) supplementation during last 2d of the treatment. Malnourished mice without treatment (MNC) and well-nourished mice (WNC) were used as controls. Mice were infected nasally with Streptococcus pneumoniae after treatments. Resistance against pneumococci was reduced in MNC mice. Repletion with BCD reduced lung and blood bacterial cell counts when compared to MNC mice but the counts did not reach the levels of the WNC group. However, when malnourished mice received BCD+UV, BCD+CW or BCD+PG, pneumococci was not detected in lung or blood samples. Pneumococcal infection increased the levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 in the respiratory tract, however the values were lower in MNC than in WNC mice. BCD+UV and BCD+PG groups showed values of phagocytes, IL-1β and IL-6 that were similar to WNC mice, while TNF-α was significantly higher in those groups when compared to WNC mice. Moreover, BCD+UV and BCD+PG treatments improved levels of respiratory IL-10, reaching values that were superior to those observed in WNC mice. The work demonstrates for the first time that non-viable probiotic bacteria or their cellular fractions could be an interesting alternative as mucosal immunomodulators, especially in immunocompromised hosts in which the use of live bacteria might be dangerous.
Keywords: Malnutrition; Mucosal immunomodulators; Non-viable Lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL1505; Peptidoglycan; Respiratory immunity.
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