BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium which causes gastric inflammatory diseases. Oral inoculation of H pylori usually results in only a temporary colonisation without a successful infection in the stomach of conventional mice in which lactobacilli are the predominant indigenous bacteria. AIM: To determine whether lactobacilli exert an inhibitory effect on colonisation by H pylori in the stomach. METHODS: The effects of H pylori on attachment to murine and human gastric epithelial cells and the H pylori mediated release of interleukin-8 (IL-8) by these cells were examined in vitro. Lactobacillus salivarius infected gnotobiotic BALB/c mice and control germ free mice were inoculated orally with H pylori to examine whether L salivarius can inhibit colonisation by H pylori. RESULTS: L salivarius inhibited both the attachment and IL-8 release in vitro. H pylori could not colonise the stomach of L salivarius infected gnotobiotic BALB/c mice, but colonised in large numbers and subsequently caused active gastritis in germ free mice. In addition, L salivarius given after H pylori implantation could eliminate colonisation by H pylori. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest the possibility of lactobacilli being used as probiotic agents against H pylori.
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