Purpose: Probiotic bacteria modulate immune parameters and inflammatory outcomes. Emerging evidence demonstrates that the matrix used to deliver probiotics may influence the efficacy of probiotic interventions in vivo. The aims of the current study were to evaluate (1) the effect of one species, Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 at a dose of log10 ± 0.5 CFUs/day on immune responses in a randomized, partially blinded, 4-period crossover, free-living study, and (2) whether the immune response to BB-12 differed depending on the delivery matrix.
Methods: Healthy adults (n = 30) aged 18-40 years were recruited and received four treatments in a random order: (A) yogurt smoothie alone; smoothie with BB-12 added (B) before or (C) after yogurt fermentation, or (D) BB-12 given in capsule form. At baseline and after each 4-week treatment, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated, and functional and phenotypic marker expression was assessed.
Results: BB-12 interacted with peripheral myeloid cells via Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2). The percentage of CD14+HLA-DR+ cells in peripheral blood was increased in male participants by all yogurt-containing treatments compared to baseline (p = 0.0356). Participants who consumed yogurt smoothie with BB-12 added post-fermentation had significantly lower expression of TLR-2 on CD14+HLA-DR+ cells (p = 0.0186) and reduction in TNF-α secretion from BB-12- (p = 0.0490) or LPS-stimulated (p = 0.0387) PBMCs compared to baseline.
Conclusions: These findings not only demonstrate a potential anti-inflammatory effect of BB-12 in healthy adults, but also indicate that the delivery matrix influences the immunomodulatory properties of BB-12.
Keywords: BB-12; Delivery matrix; Inflammation; Probiotics; TNF-α.