Probiotics are gaining more and more interest as alternatives for antibiotics or anti-inflammatory
drugs. However, their mode of action is poorly understood. This review will present
examples of probiotic actions from three general modes of actions into which probiotic
effects can be classified. Probiotics might modulate the host's immune system, affect
other microorganisms directly or act on microbial products, host products or food
components. What kind of effect(s) a certain probiotic executes depends on its metabolic
properties, the molecules presented at its surface or on the components secreted.
Even integral parts of the bacterial cell such as its DNA or peptidoglycan might be
of importance for its probiotic effectiveness. The individual combination of such
properties in a certain probiotic strain determines its specific probiotic action
and as a consequence its effective application for the prevention and/or treatment
of a certain disease.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.