The main alterations in the immune system with age include reduced humoral responses after vaccination or infection, decreases in dendritic cells efficiency to activate T and B cell populations, declines in the
generation of new naive T and B cells, and in natural killer (NK) cells’ ability to kill tumor cells (Aw et al., 2007; Hakim & Gress, 2007; Candore et al., 2008). Because of these changes, the frequency and severity of infectious disease, chronic inflammatory disorders, autoimmunity, and cancer incidence are hallmarks for immunosenescence (Gomez et al., 2008; Provinciali, 2009). The increase in the proportion of aged individuals globally and especially in western countries (World Population Prospects, 2008) Peptide 17 molecular weight necessitates the search for innovative strategies to thwart the effects of immunosenescence. These strategies should be focused on preventing the deviations or restoring the function of the immune system in older individuals. Interventions such as specific vaccination against viruses, anti-inflammatory treatments, nutrition interventions, exercise, and pre- and probiotic have been suggested to restore the immune functions in
the GSK126 in vitro elderly (Candore et al., 2008; Mocchegiani et al., 2009). The gastrointestinal tract is the main entry for bacterial cells through foods and drinks and is the site for presenting millions of antigens to the gut-associated-lymphoid tissues, which contains 70% of the immunoglobulin-producing cells. The intake of specific probiotic
bacteria has been reported to enhance the immune response in a strain-specific manner (Nova et al., 2007; Borchers et al., 2009). Earlier studies have reported that specific strains of lactic acid bacteria have immune-enhancing properties (Nova et al., C-X-C chemokine receptor type 7 (CXCR-7) 2007; Candore et al., 2008). However, probiotic bacteria have often been assessed in milk, fermented milks, or as dietary supplements. Therefore, we decided to investigate the effect of a commercial probiotic cheese containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM on the nutritional modulation of immune parameters in older volunteers (70+). These would also serve as a model for immune compromised subjects. The aim of the current study was to determine whether specific probiotic bacteria in a cheese matrix would have immune-enhancing effects on healthy older individuals in a nursing home setting, similar to those reported earlier (Gill et al., 2000; Gill et al., 2001; Sanders & Klaenhammer, 2001). Elderly subjects without acute illness, 21 women and 10 men, age range from 72 to 103 (median, 86), residing in a nursing home for older individuals were recruited for this study (Table 1). The baseline data regarding the prevalence of disease and the use of medications are shown in Fig. 1. Dementia and cardiovascular disease were the most common conditions, while aspirin, diuretics, and calcium/vitamin D intake were the most frequent.