In vitro and in vivo effects of the probiotic Escherichia coli strain M-17: Immunomodulation and attenuation of murine colitis

Leo R. Fitzpatrick, Jeffrey Small, Robert A. Hoerr, Eileen F. Bostwick, Lynn Maines, Walter A. Koltun

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46 Scopus citations


We examined the in vitro and in vivo effects of a probiotic, Escherichia coli strain M-17 (EC-M17), on NF-κB signalling, cytokine secretion and efficacy in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced murine colitis. NF-αB signalling was assessed using an NF-αB luciferase reporter cell line that was stimulated with TNF-α (100 ng/ml). p65 Nuclear binding and cytokine secretion (TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6) were evaluated using a RAW 264-7 macrophage cell line that was exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 5 μg/ml). Mice were administered vehicle, EC-M17, metronidazole, or EC-M17 plus metronidazole for 13 d. During the final 6 d, mice also received 2% DSS. Parameters evaluated included disease activity index (DAI), histology, myeloperoxidase and NF-κB p65. EC-M17 dose dependently inhibited TNF-α-induced NF-κB signalling. At 5 × 109 colony-forming units/ml, EC-M17 inhibited NF-κB by >95%. LPS-induced nuclear p65 binding was significantly inhibited (78%; P<0.05) in RAW 264-7 macrophages at 1 × 108 colony-forming units/ml. EC-M17 also inhibited (by >90%) the LPS-induced secretion of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6. In mice with DSS-induced colitis, EC-M17, metronidazole, and EC-M17 plus metronidazole significantly reduced DAI and colonic histology scores. Both EC-M17 and metronidazole reduced colonic IL-12, IL-6, IL-1β and interferon-γ. The combination of EC-M17 plus metronidazole resulted in more substantial cytokine reductions than were found with either treatment alone, and combination therapy significantly (P<0.05 in both cases) reduced IL-1β compared with EC-M17 and colonic histology scores compared with metronidazole. Alone, and in combination with metronidazole, EC-M17 improved murine colitis, probably due to an inhibitory effect on NF-βB signalling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-541
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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