Lactobacillus GG bacteria ameliorate arthritis in Lewis rats

Ehud Baharav, Felix Mor, Marisa Halpern, Abraham Weinberger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Probiotic bacteria have beneficial effects in infectious and inflammatory diseases, principally in bowel disorders. In the case of chronic progressive autoimmune arthritides, a major goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation. We hypothesized that probiotic bacteria would ameliorate inflammation found in arthritis models. To assess this effect, Lewis rats were injected with 50 μg bovine α-tropomyosin (TRM) or complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) to induce tropomyosin arthritis (TA) or adjuvant arthritis (AA), respectively. In both models, the rats were divided into 6 groups and fed 0.5 mL/d of the following suspensions: 1) heat-killed Lactobacillus GG (LGG) bacteria; 2) live LGG, both 1011 colony-forming units (cfu)/L;3) sterilized milk; 4) plain yogurt; 5) yogurt containing 1011 cfu/L LGG; or 6) sterilized water. In the disease-prevention experiments, feeding started 1 wk before or after disease induction. In the therapeutic experiments, feeding was initiated at the onset of clinical arthritis. In all experiments, there were significant interactions between time. and treatment (P < 0.001), except for milk, which had no effect in the therapeutic experiment. Histologically, rats fed yogurt containing LGG had a milder inflammation in all experiments (P < 0.05), whereas rats fed plain yogurt exhibited a moderate inflammatory score only in the prevention experiments. Anti-TRM antibody titers were not affected by any of the treatments in any of the experiments. Ingestion of live or heat-killed human LGG had a clinically beneficial effect on experimental arthritis. Our observation of the remarkable preventive and curative effect on arthritis using commercial yogurts containing lactobacilli, especially LGG, suggests the need for investigation of these agents in arthritic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1964-1969
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Adjuvant arthritis
  • Experimental autoimmune arthritis
  • Lactobacillus GG
  • Milk products
  • Tropomyosin


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