Locating specific Lactobacilli strains could lead to the development of new treatments for intestinal inflammations and infections, report researchers working on an EU-funded project on probiotics.
Using mouse models, the team set out to target the most promising strains for treatment of bowel inflammation. They found that the most promising strains produce fair levels of murine, which is the effective compound in preventing the inflammation caused by the bacteria.
To find the effective bacteria, the researchers started by examining a number of wild strains of lactobacilli to find out about their potential capacity to interact with the host immune system. As the beneficial bacteria has to be delivered orally, researchers had to assess their ability to survive in the upper part of the intestinal tract. The acidic conditions in the stomach or the bile salts in the intestine also threaten to destroy the active benefits of the bacteria.
The team selected four of the most promising beneficial probiotic strains for future studies. These will test the effect of these strains in living mice, and also in humans in the future.
The DEPROHEALTH project is aiming to design probiotic strains to prevent intestinal illnesses such as stomach ulcers linked with Helicobacter pylori, and infant diarrhoea, which is commonly caused by rotavirus. It also seeks to develop a new treatment against chronic intestinal diseases, such as Chrohn's disease, which severely affect patients' quality of life.
The project will develop new ways to tackle these diseases through oral vaccines, and combining the strains with regularly eaten food products. The researchers suggest that if these preventive measures can be given orally, the treatment is much easier to administer than injections.