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A probiotic whose “anti-stress” effects have been deciphered

Lactobacillus farciminis is a probiotic bacterial strain which reduces the permeability of the intestinal barrier, thus preventing passage into the blood circulation of bacterial products with inflammatory effects.

A probiotic whose
Updated on 05/14/2013
Published on 05/14/2013

Lb farciminis, a probiotic with beneficial effects on digestive health
Researchers in Joint Research Unit for Food Toxicology (TOXALIM) have been working for more than ten years on the role of food in gut inflammation and susceptibility to intestinal pain.  They have notably shown that in the rat, ingestion for several days of the probiotic Lactobacillus farciminis relieved the pain induced by distension of the colon and reduced experimental colonic inflammation. Their most recent studies have focused on elucidating the mechanisms in play.

The gut-brain axis and the microbiota: a three-way dialogue
The idea of a gut-brain axis is not new; the first research on this subject was carried out during the 1960s.  However, the fact that this communication works both ways; or in other words, the gut can send messages towards the brain, is a more recent concept.  Even more innovative is the  involvement of the intestinal flora, and the contribution of probiotics to this gut-brain dialogue. During their study, the INRA researchers demonstrated the ability of the probiotic Lb farciminis to attenuate the neuroendocrine response to stress induced by pathogenic bacteria. As a mechanism of action, they proposed prevention of an increase in intestinal permeability and thus restrictions on passage to the inner environment of lipopolysaccharides, a component in the cell wall of these bacteria present in the gut.

The black box deciphered....
It thus appears that in rodents, acute stress induced by pathogenic bacteria results in activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and also in an increase in intestinal permeability and neuro-inflammation affecting the hypothalamic region of the brain.  A direct consequence of this is opening of the tight junctions which fuse intestinal epithelial cells together, causing an increased passage of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) into the circulation.
An increase in circulating LPS thus appears to be directly linked to the effects of stress.  Administration of the probiotic Lb farciminis induces a reduction in intestinal permeability in animals, and in the load of circulating LPS, thus modulating the response to stress.

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Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour
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  • Ait-Belgnaoui A., Durand H., Cartier C., Chaumaz G., Eutamene H., Ferrier L., Houdeau E., Fioramonti J., Bueno L., Theodorou V. Prevention of gut leakiness by a probiotic treatment leads to attenuated HPA response to an acute psychological stress in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012, 37:1885-1895

For further information

This study has been carried out under exploitation by Lallemand Company of the Patent No. 0203891 filed by INRA in 2002 entitled "Using Lb farciminis for the prevention or treatment of digestive diseases."