Lactobacillus species have been studied for over 30 years in their role as commensal organisms in the human gut. Recently there has been a surge of interest in their abilities to natively and recombinantly stimulate immune activities, and studies have identified strains and novel molecules that convey particular advantages for applications as both immune adjuvants and immunomodulators. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in Lactobacillus-related activity at the gut/microbiota interface, the efforts to probe the boundaries of the direct and indirect therapeutic potential of these bacteria, and highlight the continued interest in harnessing the native capacity for the production of biogenic compounds shown to influence nervous system activity. Taken together, these aspects underscore Lactobacillus species as versatile therapeutic delivery vehicles capable of effector production at the lumenal-mucosal interface, and further establish a foundation of efficacy upon which future engineered strains can expand.
Bacteria such as Lactobacillus species have traditionally maintained positive association with gastrointestinal health. This review summarizes recent research relating to human health associated Lactobacillus administration on cellular and systematic levels. As techniques in molecular and synthetic biology continue to advance, the potential to increase the therapeutic scope and efficacy of Lactobacillus cultures increases regarding target molecule production, immune system influence, vaccination and nervous system activities.