Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
A 2022 study has shown interesting insights into the role of probiotics (Lactobacillus cocktail) in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). This study conducted by Iranian researchers found that probiotics reduce cellular inflammation whether they are used before, during, or after the state of active inflammation.
The study was titled “Anti‐inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of Lactobacillus spp. as a preservative and therapeutic agent for IBD control.” This 2022 study was published in Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease.
The researchers developed these interesting insights in laboratory experiments using colorectal cell lines, four Lactobacillus strains, and two toxin-producing gut pathogens. In three different experiments, they exposed colorectal cells to toxin-producing pathogens before, together with, and after probiotic exposure. They studied the level of genetic and molecular inflammatory markers in each experiment.
The researchers revealed that the effect of probiotics was inflammation-reducing in all settings. This was detected by a reduction in pro-inflammatory markers and an increase in anti-inflammatory markers.
Why Is This Study Crucial For IBD Patients?
Probiotics are frequently used in the management of IBD. For instance, they have been advocated for reducing the risk of surgery, reducing IBD symptoms, and prolonging remission.
But, whether probiotics preserve and promote gut health or act as a therapeutic agent that reduces active inflammation remains uncertain. This study mainly addressed this question around their precise role in IBD.
Nonetheless, this study is a step forward in the direction as it demonstrates that the use of the Lactobacillus cocktail showed a preventive as well as a therapeutic effect. It supports using probiotics in all stages of IBD, i.e., for prolonging remission and reducing severity.
The molecular mechanisms studied in this laboratory experiment on the human colorectal cell line – the NF‐κB and JAK/STAT pathways – are the most common molecular drivers behind IBD.
Many anti-inflammatory IBD therapies are known to act via these inflammatory pathways (NF‐κB and JAK/STAT). So, based on the results of this study, the rationale for using probiotics (Lactobacillus cocktail) in IBD is stronger than before, as they seem to act via the major inflammatory pathways involved in the IBD.
What Are The Key Takeaways From This Study?
The study used Lactobacillus cocktail as pre-, post-, and co-treatment. Researchers concluded that the probiotic cocktail was beneficial in all three settings. Moreover, this study indicates that probiotics seem to exert their anti-inflammatory effects in IBD via the commonest anti-inflammatory pathways. These results support that the Lactobacillus cocktail could prevent IBD as well as reduce its severity.
The study found that the lactobacillus cocktail reduces cellular inflammation, regardless of when it is given. This suggests that it could be a promising treatment for reducing inflammation in a range of diseases. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal way to administer the lactobacillus cocktail.
Aghamohammad, S., Sepehr, A., Miri, S. T., Najafi, S., Pourshafie, M. R., & Rohani, M. (2022). Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of Lactobacillus spp. as a preservative and therapeutic agent for IBD control. Immunity, inflammation, and disease, 10(6), e635. https://doi.org/10.1002/iid3.635