Probiotic preparation VSL#3 alters the distribution and phenotypes of dendritic cells within the intestinal mucosa in C57BL/10J mice

Wang, X.; O'Gorman, M. R.; Bu, H. F.; Koti, V.; Zuo, X. L.; Tan, X. D.

J Nutr. 2009 Jun 25; 139(8):1595-602


Probiotic nutrients have shown promise in therapy for the treatment of gastrointestinal inflammation, infection, and atopic disease. Intestinal dendritic cells (DC) play a critical role in shaping the intestinal immune response. In this study, we tested the effect of a probiotic preparation (VSL#3) on DC distribution and phenotypes within the intestinal mucosa using a lineage depletion-based flow cytometric analysis. In naive C57BL/10J mice, intestinal mucosal DC were composed of plasmacytoid DC (pDC) and myeloid DC (mDC). The pDC were the dominant form in lamina propria and Peyer's patches, whereas mDC were the prevailing type in the mesenteric lymph nodes. Additional characterization of pDC and mDC with flow cytometry revealed that they expressed heterogeneous phenotypes in the intestinal mucosa. In mice gavaged with the probiotic VSL#3 for 7 d, the proportion of pDC within the lamina propria was >60% lower, whereas the pDC subset in the mesenteric lymph nodes was more than 200% greater than in sham-treated controls (P < 0.01). Within pDC, the proportion of functionally unique CX3CR1(+) DC was greater than in controls in both the lamina propria and the Peyer's patches (P < 0.01). In contrast to pDC, the mDC number was greater than in controls in all intestinal lymphoid tissue compartments in VSL#3-treated mice (P < 0.01). In conclusion, this study suggests that phenotypically and functionally distinct DC subsets are localized to specific lymphoid tissues within the intestinal mucosa and that the VSL#3 probiotic nutritional supplement alters the distribution of the DC subsets within the intestinal mucosa. These changes may be important in the alteration of mucosal immunity following probiotic VSL#3 therapy.

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