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Integrative Analysis of the Influence and Mechanisms of Action of Probiotics in Swine


Probiotics are naturally occurring, intestinal bacteria which appear to enhance the resistance of animals to infections and disease. It has also been observed that probiotics increase the rate of recovery from diarrhea caused by endemic pathogenic bacteria. However, the molecular mechanisms of probiotic function remain largely unknown and in vivo verification of in vitro studies is rare. The Probiotic Group at the Institute for Microbiology and Epizootics (Institut für Mikrobiologie und Tierseuchen) is part of a multidisciplinary project involving the Institutes for Anatomy, Animal Nutrition, Immunology and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Epizootics and Veterinary Physiology within the School of Veterinary Medicine at the Freie Universiät Berlin. Our group is concentrating on determining the molecular mechanisms and roles of probiotic bacteria on the physiology, development and response of the intestinal immune system in the reduction of the incidence of infection and bacterial load of pathogenic bacteria in newborn and post-weaning piglets.

Current projects include animal trials in swine involving application of probiotic strains of Bacillus cereus var. toyoi or Enterococcus faecium. The effects of these probiotic strains on the prevalence of intestinal pathogens, immune cell function and mechanisms of action in species-relevant in vitro model systems are being examined. In other studies, the functions and factors of another probiotic strain, Escherichia coli Nissle 1917, are being examined in connection with mechanisms of reduction of infection by enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains. In particular, the roles of fimbriae and flagella in the ability for E. coli Nissle 1917 to
reduce adherence of pathogenic strains to porcine epithelial cells is being investigated.




Dr. Karsten Tedin, Christiane Tölke

Grants and Funding:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Grand FOR 438

Collabaration with:

- Institut für Immunologie und Molekularbiologie, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin
- Institut für Tierernährung, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin
- Institut für Veterinär Anatomie, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin
- Institut für Veterinär Biochemie, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin
- Institut für Veterinär Physiologie, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin
- Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung


Selected publications:

Kleta, S., H. Steinrück, G. Breves, S. Duncker, C. Laturnus, L.H. Wieler and P. Schierack (2006) Detection and distribution of probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 clones in swine herds in Germany. J. Appl. Microbiol. 101:1357-1366.

Schierack, P., H. Steinrück, S. Kleta, and W. Vahjen (2006) Virulence factor gene profiles of Escherichia coli isolates from clinically healthy pigs. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72:6680-6686.

Schierack, P., M. Nordhoff, M. Pollmann, K.D. Weyrauch, S. Amasheh, U. Lodemann, J. Jores, B. Tachu, S. Kleta, A. Blikslager, K. Tedin and L.H. Wieler (2006)Characterization of a porcine intestinal epithelial cell line for in vitro studies of microbial pathogenesis in swine. Histochem. Cell Biol. 125:293-305.

L. Scharek, J. Guth, K. Reiter, K.D. Weyrauch, D. Taras, P. Schwerk, P. Schierack, M.F.G. Schmidt, L.H. Wieler and K. Tedin (2005) Influence of a probiotic E. faecium strainon development of theimmune system of sows and piglets. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 105:151-161.

Pollmann, M., M. Nordhoff, A. Pospischil, K. Tedin and L.H. Wieler (2005) Effects of a probiotic strain of Enterococcus faecium on the infection rate of Chlamydia in swine. Infect. Immun. 73:4346-4353.

Nordhoff, M., D. Taras, M. Macha, K. Tedin, H.-J. Busse and L.H. Wieler (2005) Treponema berlinense sp. nov. and Treponema porcinum sp. nov., novel spirochaetes isolated from porcine faeces. Intl. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 55:1675-1680.

Scharek, L., K. Tedin, J. Guth and M.F.G. Schmidt (2004) Das intestinale immunsystem des schweines - mögliche einflussebenen von probiotika. Lohmann Information Vol. 1, pp. 3-6. Lohmann Animal Health GmbH, Cuxhaven, Germany.



  • Freie Universitaet Berlin, department of veterinary medicine, institute for microbiology and epizootics, research group ICM, probiotics