COVID-19 News: Probiotics Such As Limosilactobacillus Fermentum And Lacticaseibacillus Rhamnosus Can Help Against SARS-CoV-2
: Researchers from Universidad de Concepción-Chile have found that probiotics such as Limosilactobacillus Fermentum (UCO-979C) and Lacticaseibacillus Rhamnosus (UCO-25A) can not only prevent COVID-19 severity but can also be protective versus SARS-CoV-2 infections!
The SARS-CoV-2 virus preferably infects tissues that highly express the ACE2 receptor, the lungs and intestine being the most affected, producing an impaired immune response or intestinal dysbiosis, respectively.
The study team believes probiotics, particularly immunobiotics, which can beneficially stimulate intestinal immunity and pulmonary immunity through the intestine–lung axis can not only prevent disease severity but even prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Past COVID-19 News
coverages also showed that probiotics could help with COVID-19 infections.
The study team conducted a review as well as silico analysis to assess the possible beneficial effects for patients if probiotics with the characteristics of immunobiotics are used to confront this disease. Moreover, two probiotic strains, L. fermentum UCO-979C and L. rhamnosus UCO-25A, with different effects demonstrated at their laboratory, are emphasized.
The review highlights the possible benefits of probiotics, particularly those associated with immunomodulation as well as the production of secondary metabolites, and their potential targets during SARS-CoV-2 infection.
It has been found that in the intestine an infection causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting; moreover, recent studies suggest that SARS-CoV-2 alters the intestinal microbiota.
This observed alteration is possibly due to the reduced availability of ACE2 during an infection by this virus, which could be sufficient to alter the composition of the intestinal microbiota.
Certain evidence also supports the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may induce alterations in the blood barrier of the intestine, promoting the abnormal absorption of microbial molecules or the dissemination of bacteria. This stimulates the systemic inflammatory response, which, in turn, contributes to multiorgan dysfunction, septic shock, or gastrointestinal and fecal dysbiosis.
Unfortunately, a consequence of dysbiosis is the colonization of the intestine by opportunistic microorganisms, such as members of the genera Parabacteroides, Faecalibacterium, and Clostridium, to the detriment of beneficial commensal genera, such as those belonging to the phylum Firmicutes.
Typically, under normal circumstances, ACE2 participates in the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), hydrolyzing Ang II into Ang (1-7), which is involved in the inhibition of glucose transport to the intestine and in the production as well as release of insulin in the presence of high glucose levels.
However, during SARS-CoV-2 dysbiosis, due to the blocking of ACE2 by the virus, there occurs a decrease in the concentration of Ang (1-7), which reduces the availability of insulin and increases intestinal glucose, contributing to leaky gut syndrome and causing an increase in intestinal glucose.
The study team after gathering the precedents and information on SARS-CoV-2-caused infection, as well as the research performed at their Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenicity at the University of Concepcion on the immunomodulating properties of L. fermentum UCO-979C and L. rhamnosus UCO-25A strains, the study team concludes that both strains may have a potential use against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
This conclusion is based on the evaluation of the effects and symptomatology of SARS-CoV-2-caused infection and the probiotic as well as immunomodulating characteristics of both strains.
The deregulation of several cytokines during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers a “cytokine storm”, causing a deregulation of different components of the immune system, generating lung hyperinflammation, which may lead to the death of a patient. Immunomodulating probiotic strains could have an effect on this deregulation through the intestine–lung axis, regulating the different cytokines and other components of the immune system, possibly leading to the mitigation of lung hyperinflammation.
Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 virus infection can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms in nearly 10% of infected patients. These cases suffer intestinal dysbiosis, which is accompanied by the deregulation of cytokines and other components of the immune system.
Confronting the symptomatology of intestinal SARS-CoV-2 infection, immunoregulatory probiotic strains could drive dysbiosis to a condition of eubiosis, reducing the gastrointestinal symptoms and regulating the proinflammatory as well as anti-inflammatory factors of the gastrointestinal immune system
Importantly, the bioinformatics analysis of L. fermentum UCO-979C and L. rhamnosus UCO-25A strains has allowed the study team to observe the potentiality of both strains to be used as a possible complementary treatment against COVID-19.
Furthermore, besides the immunomodulating effects already analyzed in this review, secondary metabolites have become highly relevant in the search for possible treatments against COVID-19.
A bioinformatics search for genes associated with the regulation of the immune response and the inflammatory response was carried out. Several genes related to the synthesis and metabolism of butyrate, one of the short-chain fatty acids that have demonstrated several benefits in terms of the regulation of inflammation and immunomodulation, were found in L. fermentum UCO-979C.
Also, genes related to the synthesis of secondary bile acids, which participate in the regulation of the immune and inflammatory responses, were also found in L. fermentum UCO-979C.
L. rhamnosus UCO-25A may have genes that participate in the synthesis of butyrate and genes related to the synthesis and transport of other types of short-chain fatty acids besides butyrate.
Though no genes related to the synthesis of secondary bile salts were observed in L. rhamnosus UCO-25A, genes related to the transport of these metabolites were found. Thus, an effect of this probiotic by means of this pathway cannot be ruled out yet.
It should also be noted that bacteriocins have shown a positive effect on the reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infection, as is the case of plantaricin.
The in-silico analysis demonstrated the presence of genes related to bacteriocins in both strains.
Lincocin M18, a stimulator of the cytokine’s response in the lungs, was detected in L. fermentum UCO-979C.
The analysis also detected an unidentified type of bacteriocin in L. rhamnosus UCO-25A. Since past studies of our laboratory have demonstrated the presence of a bacteriocin of the acidocin type in this strain, both results may be correlated.
The study findings provide a good approach to the metabolites of the L. fermentum UCO-979C and L. rhamnosus UCO-25A strains, which could have an effect on infection by SARS-CoV-2, allowing us to better focus future studies to develop an immunobiotic to be used as a complement to treat COVID-19. Most importantly, the study team stresses that these probiotics can also be used as prophylactics against SARS-CoV-2!
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Biology.
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