Adhesion of some probiotic and dairy Lactobacillus strains to Caco-2 cell cultures

Int J Food Microbiol. 1998 May 5;41(1):45-51. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1605(98)00033-6.


The adhesion of 12 different Lactobacillus strains was studied using Caco-2 cell line as an in vitro model for intestinal epithelium. Some of the strains tested have been used as probiotics, and most of them are used in the dairy and food industry. Human and bovine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains were used as positive and negative control, respectively. Bacterial adhesion to Caco-2 cell cultures was quantitated using radiolabelled bacteria. The adherence of bacteria was also observed microscopically after Gram staining. Viability of bacteria prior to adhesion was verified using flow cytometry. Among the tested strains, L. casei (Fyos) was the most adhesive strain and L. casei var. rhamnosus (Lactophilus) was the least adhesive strain, approximately 14 and 3% of the added bacteria adhered to Caco-2 cell cultures, respectively. The corresponding values for positive and negative control E. coli strains were 14 and 4%, respectively. The Lactobacillus strains tested could not be divided into distinctly adhesive or non-adhesive strains, since there was a continuation of adhesion rates. The four most adhesive strains were L. casei (Fyos), L. acidophilus 1 (LC1), L. rhamnosus LC-705 and Lactobacillus GG (ATCC 53103). No significant differences in the percentage adhesion were observed between these strains. Adhesion of all the strains was dependent on the number of bacteria used, since an approximately constant number of Caco-2 cells was used, indicating that the Caco-2 cell binding sites were not saturated. Viability of bacteria was high since approximately 90% of the bacteria were viable with the exception of L. acidophilus 1 which was 74% viable. Microscopic evaluations agreed with the radiolabelled binding as evidenced by observing more bacteria in Gram-stained preparations of good adhering strains compared to poorly adhering strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cattle
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dairying
  • Epithelium / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Lactobacillus / growth & development
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism*
  • Probiotics / metabolism*