Immunomodulation by probiotics is a subject of growing interest, but the knowledge of dose response and time profile relationships is minimal. In this study we examined the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii JS (PJS) on the proliferative activity of murine lymphocytes ex vivo. Dose dependency was assessed by treating animals perorally with a low or a high dose (i.e., 109 or 1012 viable bacteria/kg of body weight) for 7 days. The lower dose levels of each strain appeared to enhance T-cell proliferation at the optimal concanavalin A (ConA) concentration (by 69 to 84%) and B-cell proliferation at the optimal and supraoptimal concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (by 57 to 82%). B-cell proliferation was also enhanced by the high LGG dose (by 32 to 39%) but was accompanied by a marginal decrease in T-cell proliferation (by 8%) at the optimal ConA concentration. The time profiles of the immune responses were assessed after daily treatment with the higher dose for 3, 7, and 14 days. A significant decrease in basal lymphoproliferation (by 32 to 42%) was observed with PJS treatment after the 3- and 7-day periods; however, this activity returned to control levels after 14 days of treatment, which also resulted in significantly enhanced T-cell proliferation at optimal and supraoptimal ConA concentrations (by 24 to 80%). The 14-day LGG treatment also enhanced the latter activity (by 119%). In conclusion, LGG and PJS have specific dose- and duration-dependent immunomodulatory effects on the proliferative activity of B and T lymphocytes and may also reduce lymphocyte sensitivity to the cytotoxic effects of lectin mitogens
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