Immunomodulation is an ability of several particular probiotics. However, it still remains unclear whether the immunomodulatory effects of specific probiotics vary for different antigen presentation models with the same antigen. To investigate this matter, six groups of BALB/c mice (n = 10) were exposed to one of two antigen presentation models: ovalbumin (OVA) by injection alone, or injection plus intranasal administration. Moreover, the mice were fed distilled water or Lactobacillus casei Shirota fermented beverage (LcSFB) at low (2.5 × 109 CFU/kg body weight) or high doses (5 × 109 CFU/kg body weight) by gavage for 8 weeks. LcSFB enhanced the proliferation of splenocytes, production of OVA-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)-G and IgA, and the ratio of T-helper (Th)-2/Th1 cytokines in mice injected with OVA. Conversely, in the mice treated with OVA by injection plus intranasal administration, LcSFB attenuated the immune responses against OVA by reducing the proliferation of splenocytes, levels of OVA-specific IgE, IgG, and IgM, and ratio of Th2/Th1 cytokines. Moreover, LcSFB increased the percentage of regulatory T cells in the injection plus intranasal administration group. Taken together, this work indicates the immunoregulatory effects of LcSFB depend on how the antigen is presented. Therefore, the use of probiotics to boost the immune system must be carefully considered.
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