Can probiotics modulate human disease by impacting intestinal barrier function?

Peter A. Bron*, Michiel Kleerebezem, Robert Jan Brummer, Patrice D. Cani, Annick Mercenier, Thomas T. MacDonald, Clara L. Garcia-Ródenas, Jerry M. Wells

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal barrier integrity is a prerequisite for homeostasis of mucosal function, which is balanced to maximise absorptive capacity, while maintaining efficient defensive reactions against chemical and microbial challenges. Evidence is mounting that disruption of epithelial barrier integrity is one of the major aetiological factors associated with several gastrointestinal diseases, including infection by pathogens, obesity and diabetes, necrotising enterocolitis, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. The notion that specific probiotic bacterial strains can affect barrier integrity fuelled research in which in vitro cell lines, animal models and clinical trials are used to assess whether probiotics can revert the diseased state back to homeostasis and health. This review catalogues and categorises the lines of evidence available in literature for the role of probiotics in epithelial integrity and, consequently, their beneficial effect for the reduction of gastrointestinal disease symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-107
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Gut barrier
  • Gut microbiota
  • Immunity
  • Probiotics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Can probiotics modulate human disease by impacting intestinal barrier function?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Bron, P. A., Kleerebezem, M., Brummer, R. J., Cani, P. D., Mercenier, A., MacDonald, T. T., Garcia-Ródenas, C. L., & Wells, J. M. (2017). Can probiotics modulate human disease by impacting intestinal barrier function? British Journal of Nutrition, 117(1), 93-107.