Abstract: Background: Probiotics have great potential to contribute to development of healthy dietary regimes, preventive care, and an integrated approach to immunity-related disease management. The bacterial wall is a dynamic entity, depending on many components and playing an essential role in modulating immune response. The impact of cell wall elasticity on the beneficial effects of probiotic strains has not been sufficiently studied. The aim was to investigate the effect of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria strains on phagocytic system cells (macrophages) as related to bacterial wall elasticity, estimated using atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Methods: We conducted studies on Balb/c line mice 18–20 g in weight using lyophilized strains of LAB—Lactobacillus acidophilus IMV B-7279, Lactobacillus casei IMV B-7280, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV B-7281, and bifidobacteria—Bifidobacterium animalis VKL and Bifidobacterium animalis VKB. We cultivated the macrophages obtained from the peritoneal cavity of mice individually with the strains of LAB and bifidobacteria and evaluated their effect on macrophages, oxygen-dependent bactericidal activity, nitric oxide production, and immunoregulatory cytokines. We used AFM scanning to estimate bacterial cell wall elasticity.
Results: All strains had a stimulating effect on the functional activity of macrophages and ability to produce NO/NO2 in vitro. Lactobacilli strains increased the production of IL-12 and IFN-γ in vitro. The AFM demonstrated different cell wall elasticity levels in various strains of LAB and bifidobacteria. The rigidity of the cell walls among lactobacilli was distributed as follows: Lactobacillus acidophilus IMV B-7279 > Lactobacillus casei IMV B-7280 > Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus IMV B-7281; among the strains of bifidobacteria: B. animalis VKB > B. animalis VKL. Probiotic strain survival in the macrophages depended on the bacterial cell wall elasticity and on the time of their joint cultivation.
Conclusion: LAB and bifidobacteria strains stimulate immune-modulatory cytokines and active oxygen and nitrogen oxide compound production in macrophages. Strains with a more elastic cell wall according to AFM data demonstrated higher resistance to intracellular digestion in macrophages and higher level of their activation. AFM might be considered as a fast and accurate method to assess parameters of probiotic strain cell wall to predict their immune-modulatory properties.
Keywords: Predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine, Gut microbiota, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Cytokines, Oxidative, nitrosative stress, Macrophages, Cell wall elasticity, Atomic force microscopy, Gut–brain axis, Microbiome, Cancer, Immune disorders, Dietary biomarkers, Healthy diet, Nutrition, Fecal microbiota transplantation, Pattern-recognition receptors