New research suggest that the health benefits of a probiotic bacterial strain of human origin called Bifidobacterium infantis 35624-known for its ability to modulate the inflammatory response in irritable bowel syndrome-extend to the entire body.
"Inflammation is a major factor in a number of chronic diseases affecting millions of people and can cause an unwanted impact on healthy tissue," said Dr. Liam O'Mahony, lead investigator of the study published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Pathogens.
"Past research has shown that the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 can positively impact the body's immune defence, and this most recent data suggests that its benefits are not restricted to the gastrointestinal tract," the researcher added.
Inflammation is associated with a wide range of conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, bacterial-induced colitis, type I diabetes and organ transplantation.
During the study, the researchers examined the effect of the probiotic on immunity to Salmonella, harmful bacteria that can cause intestinal infections and trigger the body's inflammatory response.
They administered it to mice in freeze-dried powder at least three weeks prior to salmonella infection.
Animals that received the treatment showed dramatically increased numbers of certain immune cells that control the immune system response to Salmonella, said the researchers.
Data also showed increased numbers of T-regulatory cells, which suppress inflammatory disease in a wide range of autoimmune diseases.
Administration of Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 resulted in the induction of the Treg cells, which protected the host from excessive inflammation during the course of infection.
Based on their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that the introduction of Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 results in enhanced protection from infection, while limiting pro-inflammatory damage caused by superfluous activation of the innate immune system.