Immunomodulatory effects of a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota in healthy older volunteers

H. Dong, I. Rowland, L.V. Thomas, P. Yaqoob

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There is growing evidence that probiotics confer health benefits to the host by modulating immune function, especially in older people, where immunosenescence is a feature even of healthy ageing. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on immune function in a healthy non-immunocompromised older population.

Thirty healthy old volunteers were recruited into a randomized placebo-controlled, single-blind crossover study. The volunteers were supplemented with the probiotic drink containing 1.3 × 1010 CFU LcS or skimmed milk per day for 4 weeks, followed by 4 weeks of washout and were crossed over to the other treatment. Peripheral blood and saliva samples were collected at baseline and end of each treatment.

Probiotic consumption was associated with a significant increase in natural killer (NK) cell activity relative to baseline and a significant decrease in the mean fluorescence intensity of CD25 expression in the resting T cells compared with placebo. Additionally, there was a trend towards an increased ratio of IL-10 to IL-12 relative to baseline after LcS intake.

Consumption of a probiotic drink containing LcS improved NK cell activity and tended to produce a more anti-inflammatory cytokine profile in an older population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1853–1863
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date10 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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  • Cytokine
  • Immune function
  • Lactobacillus casei Shirota
  • Lymphocyte
  • Probiotic


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