Probiotics beneficial effects on the host are associated with regulation of the intestinal microbial homeostasis and with modulation of inflammatory immune responses in the gut and in periphery. In this study, we investigated the clinical efficacy of two lactobacillus and two bifidobacterium probiotic strains in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) models, induced in Lewis rats. Treatment with probiotics led to less severe disease manifestation in both models; ex vivo analyses showed preservation of neuromuscular junction in EAMG and myelin content in EAE spinal cord. Immunoregulatory transcripts were found differentially expressed in gut associated lymphoid tissue and in peripheral immunocompetent organs. Feeding EAMG animals with probiotics resulted in increased levels of Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGFβ) in serum, and increased percentages of regulatory T cells (Treg) in peripheral blood leukocyte. Exposure of immature dendritic cells to probiotics induced their maturation toward an immunomodulatory phenotype, and secretion of TGFβ. Our data showed that bifidobacteria and lactobacilli treatment effectively modulates disease symptoms in EAMG and EAE models, and support further investigations to evaluate their use in autoimmune diseases.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis
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