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To study host–probiotic interactions in parts of the intestine only accessible in humans by surgery (jejunum, ileum and colon), pigs were used as model for humans. Groups of eight 6-week-old pigs were repeatedly orally administered with 5 × 1012 CFU Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (L. plantarum 299v) or PBS, starting with a single dose followed by three consecutive daily dosings 10 days later. Gene expression was assessed with pooled RNA samples isolated from jejunum, ileum and colon scrapings of the eight pigs per group using Affymetrix porcine microarrays. Comparison of gene expression profiles recorded from L. plantarum 299v-treated pigs with PBS-treated pigs indicated that L. plantarum 299v affected metabolic and immunological processes, particularly in the ileum. A higher expression level of several B cell-specific transcription factors/regulators was observed, suggesting that an influx of B cells from the periphery to the ileum and/or the proliferation of progenitor B cells to IgA-committed plasma cells in the Peyer’s patches of the ileum was stimulated. Genes coding for enzymes that metabolize leukotriene B4, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and steroids were regulated in the ileum. Bioinformatics analysis predicted that these metabolites may play a role in the crosstalk between intestinal immune cells and sub-mucosal adipocytes. Together with regulation of genes that repress NFKB- and PPARG-mediated transcription, this crosstalk may contribute to tempering of inflammatory reactions. Furthermore, the enzyme adenosine deaminase, responsible for the breakdown of the anti-inflammatory mediator adenosine, was strongly down-regulated in response to L. plantarum 299v. This suggested that L. plantarum 299v-regulated production of adenosine by immune cells like regulatory T cells may also be a mechanism that tempers inflammation in the ileum, and perhaps also in other parts of the pig’s body.
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