An intimate tete-a-tete - How probiotic lactobacilli communicate with the host

D.M. Remus, M. Kleerebezem, P.A. Bron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Pharmaceutical agents are routinely used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and their role as modulators of host cell responses is well characterized. In contrast, the understanding of the molecular mechanisms, which determine the role of probiotics, i.e. health-promoting bacteria, as host cell modulators is still in its infancy. Both in vitro and in vivo studies are just starting to reveal the capability of probiotic lactobacilli to modulate host cell-signaling networks and the associated influences on downstream regulatory pathways, including modulation of mucosal cytokine profiles that dictate host immune functions. The communication between probiotic lactobacilli and intestinal host cells is multifactorial and involves an integrative repertoire of receptors on the host side that recognize multiple effector molecules on the bacterial side, of which most have been found to be cell wall- or cell surface-associated compounds and proteins. This review describes the discovery of these bacterial effector molecules and their role in strain- and species-specific modulation of host signaling pathways. Unraveling the mechanisms responsible for probiotic-host interactions will progress this research field towards molecular science and will provide markers for probiotic product quality control as well as host-response efficacy. These developments can ultimately lead to a more dedicated, personalized application of probiotics with strong molecular and scientific support for health promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S33-S42
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • intestinal epithelial-cells
  • innate immune-system
  • peptidoglycan recognition proteins
  • inflammatory-bowel-disease
  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • toll-like receptor-2
  • nf-kappa-b
  • rhamnosus gg
  • lipoteichoic acid
  • escherichia-coli


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