Modification of intestinal microbiota early in life by administration of probiotic bacteria may be a potential approach to prevent allergic disease. To select probiotic bacteria for in vivo purposes, we investigated the capacity of probiotic bacteria to interact with neonatal dendritic cells (DC) and studied the ensuing T cell polarizing effect. Immature DC were generated from cord blood-derived monocytes and maturation was induced by maturation factors (MF), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus MF and Bifidobacterium bifidum, B. infantis, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactococcus lactis alone or combined with MF. After 12 days of co-culture with DC and Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B (SEB) as antigenic stimulus, cytokine production by autologous T cells was determined by intracellular cytokine staining. Additionally, cells were stimulated with CD3 and CD28 monoclonal antibodies and cytokines were measured in supernatants by multiplex assay. The probiotic strains induced partial maturation of DC. Full maturation of DC was induced for all strains tested when MF was added. The percentage of interleukin (IL)-4 producing T cells was lower in T cell cultures stimulated with B. bifidum matured DC compared to MF and LPS matured DC, which coincided with a higher percentage of interferon (IFN)-gamma-producing T cells. Furthermore, T cells stimulated by B. bifidum matured DC produced significantly more IL-10 compared to MF matured DC. Selected species of the Bifidobacterium genus prime in vitro cultured neonatal DC to polarize T cell responses and may therefore be candidates to use in primary prevention of allergic diseases.
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