Are probiotics effective in the treatment of fungal colonization of the gastrointestinal tract? Experimental and clinical studies.
The influence of fungal colonization and probiotic treatment on the course of gastric ulcer (GU) and ulcerative colitis (UC) was not explored. Our studies included: 1) clinical investigation of 293 patients with dyspeptic and ulcer complaints and 72 patients with lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract: 60 patients with UC, 12 with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - the control group. Significant fungal colonization (SFC), over 10(5) CFU/ml was evaluated. Mycological investigation was performed, including qualitative and quantitative examination, according to Muller method, 2) experimental studies in rats included estimation of the influence of inoculation of Candida isolated from human GI tract on the healing process of GU, induced by acetic acid with or without probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus (10(6) CFU/ml) introduced intragastrically (i.g.). At 0, 4, 15 and 25 day after ulcer induction. Weight, damage area, gastric blood flow (GBF) (H2 clearance), expression of mRNA for cytokines IL-beta, TNF-alpha (ELISA) were evaluated. Mycology: qualitative and quantitative examination was performed. MPO serum activity was measured. Results of clinical studies: 1) SFC was more frequent in patients with GU: 54.2% of cases and patients with over 5 years history of UC: 33.3% cases. 2) SFC delayed GU healing and influenced the maintenance of clinical symptoms in both diseases. Results of animal studies: 3) In Candida inoculated rats, the GBF was significantly lower than in the vehicle controls (saline administered group). Upregulation of TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta was recorded. The GUs were still present till 25 day in all rats inoculated with Candida, in contrast to vehicle group (reduction of ulcer in 92% at day 25). Conclusions: 1) Fungal colonization delays process of ulcer and inflammation healing of GI tract mucosa. That effect was attenuated by probiotic therapy. 2) Probiotic therapy seems to be effective in treatment of fungal colonization of GI tract. 3) Lactobacillus acidophilus therapy shortens the duration of fungal colonization of mucosa (enhanced Candida clearance is associated with IL-4, INF-gamma response).