Probiotics upregulate trefoil factors and downregulate pepsinogen in the mouse stomach

Ghalia Khoder, Farah Al-Yassir, Asma Al Menhali, Prashanth Saseedharan, Subi Sugathan, Catherine Tomasetto, Sherif M. Karam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Probiotics are used in the management of some gastrointestinal diseases. However, little is known about their effects on normal gastric epithelial biology. The aim of this study was to explore how the probiotic mixture VSL#3 affects gastric cell lineages in mice with a special focus on protective and aggressive factors. Weight-matching littermate male mice (n = 14) were divided into treated and control pairs. The treated mice received VSL#3 (5 mg/day/mouse) by gastric gavage for 10 days. Control mice received only the vehicle. Food consumption and bodyweight were monitored. All mice were injected intraperitoneally with bromodeoxyuridine (120 mg/Kg bodyweight) two hours before sacrificed to label S-phase cells. Stomach tissues were processed for lectin-and immunohistochemical examination. ImageJ software was used to quantify immunolabeled gastric epithelial cells. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to provide relative changes in expression of gastric cell lineages specific genes. Results revealed that treated mice acquired (i) increased production of mucus, trefoil factor (TFF) 1 and TFF2, (ii) decreased production of pepsinogen, and (iii) increased ghrelin-secreting cells. No significant changes were observed in bodyweight, food consumption, cell proliferation, or parietal cells. Therefore, VSL#3 administration amplifies specific cell types specialized in the protection of the gastric epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3901
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2019


  • Gastric epithelium
  • Ghrelin
  • Mucin
  • Pepsinogen
  • Probiotics
  • Trefoil factor
  • VSL#3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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