Immunological Effects of Probiotics and their Significance to Human Health

  • Harsharn S. Gill
  • Sunita Grover
  • Virender K. Batish
  • Preet Gill


Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit upon the host (FAO/WHO, 2001). Lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are commonly used as probiotics. Other less commonly used probiotics include the yeast Sacchromyces cerevisiae and some non-pathogenic Escherichia coli and Bacillus species. Studies over the past 20 years have demonstrated that probiotic intake is able to confer a range of health benefits including modulation of the immune system, protection against gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections, lowering of blood cholesterol levels, attenuation of overt immuno-inflammatory disorders (such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies) and anti-cancer effects. However, the strongest clinical evidence for probiotics relates to their effectiveness in improving gut health and modulating (via stimulation or regulation) the host immune system. This chapter provides an overview of the current status of our knowledge regarding the immunostimulatory and immunoregulatory effects of probiotics on the immune system and their significance to human health.


Ulcerative Colitis Atopic Dermatitis Treg Cell Phagocytic Activity Probiotic Strain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations


atopic dermatitis


atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome


antigen presenting cells


Crohn’s disease


colorectal cancer


dendritic cells


diabetes mellitus


gut-associated lymphoid tissue


gastrointestinal tract


inflammatory bowel disease


intraepithelial cells


not done

NK cells

natural killer cells


open-label controlled trial


open randomised placebo-controlled


pathogen-associated molecular patterns


polymorphonuclear cells


rheumatoid arthritis


randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled


SCOring atopic dermatitis


T cytotoxic cells


T helper cells


Toll-like receptors


ulcerative colitis


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harsharn S. Gill
    • 1
  • Sunita Grover
    • 2
  • Virender K. Batish
    • 2
  • Preet Gill
    • 3
  1. 1.Animal Production Sciences ResearchDPI (Department of Primary Industries)MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.National Dairy Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  3. 3.School of MedicineGriffith UniversitySouthportAustralia

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