Enterococcus faecium FC-K Derived from Kimchi Is a Probiotic Strain That Shows Anti-Allergic Activity

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017 Jun 28;27(6):1071-1077. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1611.11020.


A rise in the occurrence of allergic diseases is attributed to the dysregulated balance of type 1/type 2 immunity, where type 2 T-helper (Th2) cells predominate over type 1 T-helper (Th1) cells, leading to an abnormally increased production of IgE in response to unharmful antigens. Kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented food, is a rich source of beneficial lactic acid bacteria. In this study, we investigated the ability of Enterococcus faecium FC-K derived from kimchi to induce type I immunity in the presence of Th2 polarizing conditions in vitro and in vivo. Stimulation of mouse peritoneal macrophages with E. faecium FC-K induced the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-12. Under the in vitro Th2 conditions in which splenic T cells were activated in the presence of IL-4, E. faecium FC-K enhanced the ability of T cells to produce interferon (IFN)-γ. Using the ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergy model, male BALB/c mice receiving E. faecium FC-K reduced the serum level of total IgE, but not that of OVA-specific IgE. Furthermore, the population of activated splenic B cells during OVA immunization was decreased in E. faecium FC-K-treated mice, accounting for a reduction of total IgE in the serum. Restimulating splenocytes from OVA-immunized mice with OVA ex vivo resulted in an increased production of IFN-γ, with no effect on IL-4, in E. faecium FC-Ktreated mice. These observations provide the evidence that E. faecium FC-K can be a beneficial probiotic strain that can modulate the Th2-mediated pathologic response.

Keywords: Enterococcus faecium; IgE; T cells; allergy; kimchi.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Enterococcus faecium / immunology*
  • Enterococcus faecium / isolation & purification*
  • Fermented Foods / microbiology*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / drug effects
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / immunology
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Probiotics / isolation & purification*
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin