Rotavirus infections result in severe gastroenteritis with a detrimental inflammatory response in the intestine. Because probiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect and can modulate the gut microbiota profile, they can be used as a biotherapy for inflammatory intestinal diseases. In this study, we isolated Streptococcus thermophilus strain 7 (ST7) from cow milk and examined the effect of heat-inactivated ST7 on the intestinal histopathological score, inflammatory cytokine levels, T-cell activation and effector function, and microbiome profile in a mouse model with intestinal injury induced by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a Toll-like receptor 3 agonist. The results indicated that ST7 treatment prevented weight loss and intestinal injury and prevented the upregulation of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-15 levels in intestinal epithelial cells; prevented the upregulation of inflammation-associated Gammaproteobacteria and Alistipes; and increased the levels of Firmicutes in fecal microbiota after poly I:C stimulation. ST7 treatment also increased the serum interferon-γ (IFN-γ) level and promoted the expression of IFN-γ in both CD8 and CD4 T cells. In summary, ST7 prevented the inflammatory response, promoted the T-cell effector function, and modulated the microbiota profile of mice with poly I:C-induced small intestine injury.
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