Probiotics Help Ulcers and Induce Regulatory Immune Responses

Helicobacter pylori, Gastric Mucosa, H&E (390307642)
Helicobacter pylori (in the center) are sensitive to probiotics.
This week: Helicobacter pylori is trumped again by probiotics, the intestinal microflora helps induce regulatory immune responses, and scientists develop a smart tool for determining gut residents. 

Probiotic Species Improve Helicobacter pylori Eradication

A Chinese study investigated the possible benefits of adding the probiotic species Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum to the standard treatment protocol of H. pylori. Helicobacter pylori are responsible for the formation of stomach ulcers. One hundred children participated in this randomized and controlled study. The addition of probiotics significantly improved the eradication rate. Furthermore, the intestinal microbiota was more stable as opposed to the control group receiving the standard therapy without additional probiotics.

Short Chain Fatty Acids Induce Regulatory Immune Responses

Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are metabolites produced by the intestinal microbiota and have many functions. In a new study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, evidence has been collected that shows that SCFAs are involved in the induction of regulatory immune responses. Specifically butyrate and propionate play important roles by increasing regulatory T cell numbers.

New Tools for Identifying Microflora

An important part of research concerning probiotics is being able to determine how they affect the intestinal microbiota: the microorganisms that make up the intestinal ecosystem. A study published in BMC Genomics describes the use of a new technique dubbed the “Gut Microbiotassay.” This assay combines real-time PCR chip technology with a smart set of phyla and subgroup bacteria primers (little bits of DNA that direct the amplification of specific genes). After amplification, sequencing the bacterial genes further identifies bacteria species. Using this technique, the group was able to easily find differences in the microbiota of piglets with and without diarrhea.


  • Wang YH, Huang Y. Effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum supplementation to standard triple therapy on Helicobacter pylori eradication and dynamic changes in intestinal flora. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hermann-Bank ML, Skovgaard K, Stockmarr A, Larsen N, Molbak L. The Gut Microbiotassay: a high-throughput qPCR approach combinable with next generation sequencing to study gut microbial diversity. BMC Genomics 2013; 14(1): 788.
  • Arpaia N, Campbell C, Fan X, Dikiy S, van der Veeken J, Deroos P et al. Metabolites produced by commensal bacteria promote peripheral regulatory T-cell generation. Nature 2013. [Epub ahead of print]