Can Probiotics Modulate Human Disease by Impacting Intestinal Barrier Function?

British Journal of Nutrition 2017.

This paper belongs to a series of three publications that examine the intestinal barrier, its role in health and disease and the potential impact of probiotics on function. In this review, the available evidence for the role of probiotics in epithelial integrity is investigated.

Intestinal barrier integrity is a prerequisite for homeostasis of mucosal function. Evidence is mounting that disruption of epithelial barrier integrity is one of the major etiological factors associated with several gastrointestinal diseases, including infection by pathogens, obesity and diabetes, necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The notion that specific probiotic bacterial strains can impact barrier integrity fuelled research in which in vitro cell lines, animal models and clinical trials are employed to assess whether probiotics can revert the diseased state back to homeostasis and health. This review catalogues and categorizes the lines of evidence available in literature for the role of probiotics in epithelial integrity and, consequently, their beneficial effect for the reduction of gastrointestinal disease symptoms.

The open-access PDF is accessible here.

For more information please visit the Probiotics Task Force webpage.