Four species of probiotic bacteria were assessed for their capacities to protect athymic bg/bg-nu/nu and euthymic bg/bg-nu/+ mice from mucosal and systemic candidiasis. Each bacterial species and Candida albicans colonized the gastrointestinal tracts of both strains of mice. The presence of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus casei GG, or Bifidobacterium animalis) in the gastrointestinal tracts prolonged the survival of adult and neonatal bg/bg-nu/nu mice compared to that of isogenic mice colonized with C. albicans alone. The incidence of systemic candidiasis in bg/bg-nu/nu mice was significantly reduced by each of the four probiotic bacterial species. The numbers of C. albicans present in the alimentary tracts of euthymic bg/bg-nu/+ mice were significantly reduced by L. casei GG and B. animalis. None of the probiotic bacteria species completely prevented mucosal candidiasis, but B. animalis reduced its incidence and severity. Probiotic bacteria also modulated antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses to C. albicans. The prolonged survival of mice, decreased severity of mucosal and systemic candidiasis, modulation of immune responses, decreased number of C. albicans in the alimentary tract, and reduced numbers of orogastric infections demonstrated not only that probiotic bacteria have biotherapeutic potential for prophylaxis against and therapy of this fungal disease but also that probiotic bacteria protect mice from candidiasis by a variety of immunologic (thymic and extrathymic) and nonimmunologic mechanisms in this model.