1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in determining the impact of health-promoting components in foods including those containing probiotic bacteria, and how allergens and infections alter intestinal immunity and physiology. Our project plan has two objectives that directly relate to this agreement: Objective 2: To elucidate the mechanisms used by probiotic bacteria to improve respiratory and intestinal mucosal responses to allergens, and correlate intestinal microflora composition of pigs and humans with biomarkers of allergic and intestinal disease, and Objective 3: To elucidate the mechanisms by which micronutrients affect gut physiology and immune competence in response to food-borne illness due to viruses, bacteria, and gastrointestinal parasites. The COOPERATOR directs a laboratory that has supported ARS activities to evaluate mucosal responses to pathogens and allergens. A formal agreement to expand the interaction can facilitate the objectives of the project and support from external funds.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Experimental mouse and swine models of viral, bacterial, and parasitic infection as well as exposure to allergens will be evaluated for changes in immune and physiological responses at mucosal surfaces. This information will be used by both ARS and the COOPERATOR to jointly develop new research studies that focus on the evaluation of dietary and probiotic intervention to prevent the onset of inflammation and dysfunction, and enhance healthy mucosal surfaces.
Studies were completed that showed that feeding probiotic bacteria to pigs while in utero and through the first six weeks of life improved the absorption of glucose in the small intestine during a parasitic nematode infection. This response did not alter the expulsion of the parasite from the intestine indicating an improved sodium –linked transport mechanisms in the gut without a diminution in immune function. Specific antibody responses against the parasite were also improved by probiotic feeding both in the serum and luminal fluids of the intestine. This is one of the few reports that shows the benefit of feeding probiotics in the face of a parasitic worm infection. The work is being submitted for publication.