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Poultry fed on wheat-based diets regularly ingest wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) that has toxic effects in vitro on intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) obtained from 14-d-old broilers. Cytotoxicity and the potential role of 14 intestinal bacterial strains in the removal of bound lectins in epithelial cell cultures were investigated. Cytotoxicity was dependent on time and lectin concentration; the lethal dose (LD50) was 8.36 µg/ml for IEC exposed for 2 h to WGA. Complementary sugars to WGA were detected on the surface of one Enterococcus and 9 Lactobacillus strains isolated from poultry. These strains were evaluated as a lectin removal tool for cytotoxicity prevention. Incubation of lactic acid bacteria with WGA before IEC-lectin interaction caused a substantial reduction in the percentage of cell deaths. The protection was attributed to the amount of lectin bound to the bacterial surfaces and was strain-dependent. L. salivarius LET 201 and L. reuteri LET 210 were more efficient than the other lactic acid bacteria assayed. These results provide a basis for the development of probiotic supplements or cell-wall preparations of selected lactic acid bacteria intended to avoid harmful effects of a natural constituent of the grain in wheat-based diets.


J D Babot, E Argañaraz Martínez, M J Lorenzo-Pisarello, M C Apella, A Perez Chaia. Lactic acid bacteria isolated from poultry protect the intestinal epithelial cells of chickens from in vitro wheat germ agglutinin-induced cytotoxicity. British poultry science. 2017 Feb;58(1):76-82

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PMID: 27845560

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