“If TNFα inhibition is indeed central to the action of probiotics in preventing hypogonadal bone loss, sequestration of TNFα by the monoclonal antibody infliximab in people—for example, those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease—would be expected to reduce bone loss,” write Dr. Iqbal and co-authors. “Surprisingly, such an effect was not found in a cohort of patients with Crohn’s disease, leaving the question open as to whether TNFα is the sole mediator of probiotic action on bone.”
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Although the probiotic-induced protection against bone loss may not be determined entirely by TNFα, production does appear to be determined by the strain of probiotic. The investigators found that treatment with either the commercially available probiotic VSL#3 or Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) was effective in protecting against bone loss. In contrast, treatment with a nonprobiotic strain of E. coli was ineffective.
Lara C. Pullen, PhD, is a medical writer based in the Chicago area.
- Li JY, Chassaing B, Tyagi AM, et al. Sex steroid deficiency-associated bone loss is microbiota dependent and prevented by probiotics. J Clin Invest. 2016 Apr 25. pii: 86062. doi: 10.1172/JCI86062. [Epub ahead of print]
- Iqbal J, Yuen T, Sun L, Zaidi M. From the gut to the strut: Where inflammation reigns, bone abstains. J Clin Invest. 2016 Apr 25. pii: 87430. doi: 10.1172/JCI87430. [Epub ahead of print]