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By Alex McNally

09/06/2007- A series of probiotic studies on mice have presented positive results in protecting newborns from intestinal infections and reducing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), research by Institut Rosell suggests.

The Canadian company will present the work at the 4th Probiotics, Prebiotics & New Foods Congress this month. It looks at the use of the Lacidofil preparation and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of Lp299v in combination with rosehip drink in an animal model of IBD.

Another study looks at Lp299v's ability to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injuries.

If the results also hold for humans, the studies point to a potential for probiotics to be used in the direction of colonic surgery, organ transplantation and vascular injury, as well as boosting gut health in newborns.

They also add further backing to the use of probiotics in reducing IBD, which is said to affect about one person in every 500, which equates to over half a million people in the US, and 150,000 people in the UK.

Melanie Gareau of the Philipp Sherman team at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, will present the results on the effects of Lacidofil in the prevention of neonatal intestinal infection in a mouse model.

Lacidofil is formulated using Lactobacillus Rosell 52 and Lactobacillus Rosell 11, and previous studies have linked its effectiveness for antibiotic associated diarrhoea and dysbacteriosis, and for reducing lactose intolerance. It is currently available in Canada, some Eastern European countries, and the United States, where it is sold as a food supplement.

The first study, "Probiotics prevent death caused by Citrobacter rodentium infection in neonatal mice", looks at Lacidofil and concludes that: "probiotics could prove an important option for the management of newborns at high risk of developing intestinal infections, such as in the neonatal intensive care unit."

Two other studies look at the use of Lp299v and were conducted in Sweden by Lund University's and Malmö University Hospital's Department of Surgery. Both promote a better understanding of the effects of L. plantarum 299v observed in patients, further substantiating the existing evidence of this probiotic strain's effectiveness in helping to maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier, Institut Rosell said.

Strains of the Lp299v bacteria have already been linked to preventing iron deficiency and boosting heart health.

Free radicals play a central role in the development of colon ischemia-reperfusion injuries - an injury caused by a sudden reduction in blood flow which can be a concern during surgery.

Researchers used an animal model of ischemia-reperfusion injury with Lp299v in combination with rosehip drink and said there is a synergy between the probiotic and rosehip in reducing lipid peroxidation in the colon, thus preserving the integrity of the gut mucosa. Rosehip is also a powerful antioxidant.

They said the study underlines a potential role for probiotics "as a pretreatment to diminish lipid peroxidation and tissue injuries in fields of colonic surgery, organ transplantation and vascular injury, and in clinical conditions where ischemia-reperfusion injury accounts."

The second study also highlights the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of Lp299v in combination with rosehip drink in an animal model of IBD.

The researchers said that overall disease activity index decreased significantly with the treatments within a week, as compared to untreated control.

The study shows the efficacy of Lp299v, either alone or with Rosehip drink, in attenuating inflammation and improving the intestinal barrier function (reduced bacterial translocation in the gut), as well as its antioxidant capacity, they said.

Henri Durand, R&D director of Institut Rosell added: "Mechanistic studies performed by these teams will help to explain and support the effect of probiotics in IBS and other gastro-intestinal disorders."

The 4th Probiotics, Prebiotics & New Foods Congress will be held September 16 to 18 in Rome.

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