Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri attenuates the stressor-enhanced severity of Citrobacter rodentium infection.
Infect Immun. 2013 Sep ;81(9):3253-63. Epub 2013 Jun 24. PMID: 23798531
Amy R Mackos
Stressor exposure has been shown to enhance host susceptibility and the severity of a plethora of illnesses, including gastrointestinal disease. In mice, susceptibility to Citrobacter rodentium has been shown to be dependent on host genetics as well as the composition of the intestinal microbiota, but the effects of stressor exposure on this gastrointestinal pathogen have not been elucidated fully. Previously, our lab showed that exposure to the prolonged-restraint stressor prior to a challenge with C. rodentium alters the intestinal microbiota community structure, including a reduction of beneficial genera such as Lactobacillus, which may contribute to stressor-enhanced C. rodentium-induced infectious colitis. To test the effects of stressor exposure on C. rodentium infection, we exposed resistant mice to a prolonged-restraint stressor concurrent with pathogen challenge. Exposure to prolonged restraint significantly enhanced C. rodentium-induced infectious colitis in resistant mice, as measured by increases in colonic histopathology, colonic inflammatory mediator gene production, and pathogen translocation from the colon to the spleen. It was further tested if the beneficial bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri could reduce the stressor-enhanced susceptibility to C. rodentium-enhanced infectious colitis. While L. reuteri treatment did not reduce all aspects of stressor-enhanced infectious colitis, it did significantly reduce pathogen translocation from the colon to the spleen. Taken together, these data demonstrate the deleterious effects that prolonged stressor exposure can have at the onset of a gastrointestinal infection by its ability to render a resistant mouse highly susceptible to C. rodentium. Probiotic treatment ameliorated the systemic manifestations of stress on colonic infection.