Probiotic antigenotoxic activity as a DNA bioprotective tool: a minireview with focus on endocrine disruptors

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2020 Feb 1;367(3):fnaa041. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnaa041.


Nowadays, the interest in the role of dietary components able to influence the composition and the activity of the intestinal microbiota and, consequently, to modulate the risk of genotoxicity and colon cancer is increasing in the scientific community. Within this topic, the microbial ability to have a protective role at gastrointestinal level by counteracting the biological activity of genotoxic compounds, and thus preventing the DNA damage, is deemed important in reducing gut pathologies and is considered a new tool for probiotics and functional foods. A variety of genotoxic compounds can be found in the gut and, besides food-related mutagens and other DNA-reacting compounds, there is a group of pollutants commonly used in food packaging and/or in thousands of everyday products called endocrine disruptors (EDs). EDs are exogenous substances that alter the functions of the endocrine system through estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity, which interfere with normal hormonal function in human and wildlife. Thus, this paper summarizes the main applications of probiotics, mainly lactobacilli, as a bio-protective tool to counteract genotoxic and mutagenic agents, by biologically inhibiting the related DNA damage in the gut and highlights the emerging perspectives to enlarge and further investigate the microbial bio-protective role at intestinal level.

Keywords: SOS-Chromotest; antigenotoxicity; endocrine disruptors; probiotics; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endocrine Disruptors / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Mutagens / metabolism
  • Probiotics / metabolism*


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Mutagens