Commensal bacteria, including some species of lactobacilli commonly present in human breast milk, appear to colonize the neonatal gut and contribute to protection against infant infections, suggesting that lactobacilli could potentially modulate immunity. In this study, we evaluated the potential of two Lactobacillus strains isolated from human milk to modulate the activation and cytokine profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) subsets in vitro. Moreover, these effects were compared to the same probiotic species of non-milk origin. Lactobacillus salivarius CECT5713 and Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 at 105, 106 and 107 bacteria/mL were co-cultured with PBMC (106/mL) from 8 healthy donors for 24 h. Activation status (CD69 and CD25 expressions) of natural killer (NK) cells (CD56+), total T cells (CD3+), cytotoxic T cells (CD8+) and CD4+ T cells was determined by flow cytometry. Regulatory T cells (Treg) were also quantified by intracellular Foxp3 evaluation. Regarding innate immunity, NK cells were activated by addition of both Lactobacillus strains, and in particular, the CD8+ NK subset was preferentially induced to highly express CD69 (90%, p<0.05). With respect to acquired immunity, approximately 9% of CD8+ T cells became activated after co-cultivation with L. fermentum or L salivarius. Although CD4+ T cells demonstrated a weaker response, there was a preferential activation of Treg cells (CD4+CD25+Foxp3+) after exposure to both milk probiotic bacteria (p<0.05). Both strains significantly induced the production of a number of cytokines and chemokines, including TNFα, IL-1β, IL-8, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and GM-CSF, but some strain-specific effects were apparent. This work demonstrates that L salivarius CECT5713 and L. fermentum CECT5716 enhanced both natural and acquired immune responses, as evidenced by the activation of NK and T cell subsets and the expansion of Treg cells, as well as the induction of a broad array of cytokines.\ud \u
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