When a high-concentration probiotic (De Simone Formulation) was first included in the Gastroenterology Guidelines for the dietary management for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases) patients, it caused quite a stir. Analyzing this strategy in depth has allowed researchers to identify essential differences between the components included in the wide range of food supplements.

A concrete example can be the ability to prevent intestinal fibrosis. One of the consequences of the chronic development of some inflammatory bowel diseases is the triggering of a fibrosis process, for which current pharmacological strategies are not fully effective. The research group coordinated by Maria Grazia Cifone at the University of L’Aquila recently published  a study on Nutrients (1) evaluating the potential antifibrotic impact of two highly concentrated multi-strain probiotic formulations on TGF-ß1-activated human intestinal colonic myofibroblast CCD-18Co. The effects of commercially available probiotic products VSL#3® and Vivomixx® were evaluated. The results of the study showed that the soluble fraction of Vivomixx® formulation, but not VSL#3®, was able to antagonize the pro-fibrotic effects of TGF-ß1. The mechanism underlying the observed effect appeared to be associated with inhibition of the TGF-ß1/Smad signaling pathway.

This study provides the first experimental evidence that Vivomixx® is a promising approach to IBD complications and in particular intestinal fibrosis, being able to antagonize TGF-ß1 pro-fibrotic effects. It is important to underline that the differences that have been observed between the two probiotics are probably attributable to the qualitative and quantitative differences existing between the two products, as already demonstrated in several previous studies (2).

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(1) Lombardi F, et al Soluble Fraction from Lysate of a High Concentration Multi-Strain Probiotic Formulation Inhibits TGF-ß1-Induced Intestinal Fibrosis on CCD-18Co Cells Nutrients 2021, 13, 882. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030882

(2) Biagioli M, Capobianco D, Carino A, Marchianò S, Fiorucci C, Ricci P, Distrutti E, Fiorucci S. Divergent Effectiveness of Multispecies Probiotic Preparations on Intestinal Microbiota Structure Depends on Metabolic Properties. Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020325

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