Lactobacillus casei strain GG reverses increased intestinal permeability induced by cow milk in suckling rats

Gastroenterology. 1993 Dec;105(6):1643-50. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(93)91059-q.


Background: Lactobacilli constitute a major part of the microflora throughout the gastrointestinal tract. This study aimed to investigate the effect of lactobacilli on the gut mucosal barrier.

Methods: Rat pups were divided into three experimental feeding groups at the age of 14 days. In addition to normal maternal milk, group "milk" received a daily gavage of cow milk, group "milk-GG" received Lactobacillus casei strain GG with cow milk, and controls were gavaged with the same volume of water. At 21 days, the absorption of horseradish peroxidase across patch-free jejunal segments and segments containing Peyer's patches was studied in Ussing chambers.

Results: The mean absorption of intact horseradish peroxidase expressed in, was significantly different in the study groups in both patch-free segments (controls, 9 [95% confidence interval, 7-12]; milk, 72 [60-87]; and milk-GG, 15 [4-52]) and in segments containing Peyer's patches (controls, 3 [1-17]; milk, 80 [43-151]; and milk-GG, 15 [4-56]). There was a significant increase in the frequency of cells secreting antibodies to beta-lactoglobulin (enzyme-linked immunospot assay) in the milk-GG group.

Conclusions: Prolonged cow milk challenge in suckling rats increases gut permeability to intact proteins, whereas Lactobacillus GG counteracts this permeability disorder. The results suggest a link between the intensity of the antigen-specific immune response and stabilization of the mucosal barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Suckling
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Female
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunoglobulin A / physiology
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus casei / physiology*
  • Male
  • Milk / physiology*
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Horseradish Peroxidase