In Vitro Tests of Immune System Modulation

Probiotics consumption usually stimulates a strong immune response, thereby protecting the host from microbial pathogens. Hence, evaluation of immune system modulation can be used as an important indicator for screening potential immunomodulatory probiotic strains. Creative Biolabs is focused on the development of live biotherapeutics products that treat many diseases and control benefit health conditions. We provide a variety of solutions of in vitro assays of immune system modulation to screen potential probiotic strains from multiple sources.

Probiotics and Immune System Modulation

Probiotics have been revealed to act as an immune modulator that plays an essential role in modulation or enhancement of the immune response. Probiotics can interact with diverse immune cells such as antigen-presenting cells, B cells, and T cells, and confer them to exert immunoregulatory functions by balancing pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory immune responses. For example, oral probiotic bacteria can induce the production of different cytokines or chemokines, such as IL-2 and IL-10. Several studies have reported that probiotics contribute to the treatment of infectious diseases, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Therefore, immune regulatory function tests are very important for the identification of the immunomodulatory probiotic strain.

Prebiotic and probiotic effects on the innate and adaptive immune responses. Fig.1 Prebiotic and probiotic effects on the innate and adaptive immune responses. (Gourbeyre, 2011)

Selection of Immunomodulatory Probiotics

Immunomodulatory probiotics can be screened based on their immunomodulatory activity. The general procedure is as follows:

  • Incubation of in vitro screening models and candidate probiotic strains
  • In vitro assays to determine the immunomodulatory functions of candidate probiotics: cytokines like IL-5, IL-10, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-12b, IL-17a, and TGF-β, as well as the levels of the secretory immunoglobulin type A (sIgA) are used as important indicators for evaluating stimulation of the immune response and the inflammation status.
  • Data analysis and immunomodulatory probiotics identification

To identify functional probiotics with a special property, it is required to improve in vitro screening models to mimic the complex and dynamic immune interactions of the gut by using co-culture models or 3D models. For example, in vitro models of inflammatory bowel disease are suitable for selecting the most effective probiotics which have multiple efficacies including the ability to restore biodiversity within the microbiota, the antagonism against pathogens, the stimulation of epithelial proliferation, the improvement of mucus production, the modulation of intestinal permeability and the mediation of pro-inflammatory effects. Th2-skewed immune cells have widely been investigated to select probiotic strains that exert certain immune-stimulating properties.

Table 1. In vitro assays employed during screening for novel probiotic strains. (Papadimitriou, 2015)

Probiotic Property Assays
Immunomodulation Co-aggregation with pathogens
Enhancement of intestinal barrier function (e.g., TER measurement, immunofluorescence of tight junction protein antibodies, tight junctional protein phosphorylation)
Immunomodulation Bacterial translocation in the GIT
Co-culture models mimicking in vivo situation (e.g., co-culture models or three component models with epithelium cells, immune cells, and bacteria)
Interaction of host immune system with bacterial compounds (e.g., lipoteichoic acids and peptidoglycan)
Regulation of epithelial tight junctions
Anti-inflammatory immune-stimulating properties (e.g., alleviation of IBD and allergic symptoms)
β-Hexosaminidase release assay (alleviation of allergic reactions)

Highlights of Immune System Modulation In Vitro Test Services

Regulating host immunity is one of the most commonly proposed health benefits due to probiotic consumption. Hence, it is useful to screen potential probiotic strains by evaluating their immune-modulating function on hosts. With years of experience in the development of novel probiotics, Creative Biolabs devotes to offering a full range of services for the development of immunomodulatory probiotics including design of experiment scheme, in vitro model construction, and in vitro assays for immune-modulating function, and identification of immunomodulatory probiotics.

In Vitro Tests of Immune System Modulation


  • Well-established technologies
  • Highly experienced expert team to provide real-time technical guidance
  • Shorter experimental cycle to accelerate project success

If are looking for a reliable partner to help you develop live biotherapeutics products, please contact us to discuss your project.


  1. Gourbeyre, P.; et al. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics: impact on the gut immune system and allergic reactions. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2011, 89(5): 685-695.
  2. Papadimitriou, K.; et al. Discovering probiotic microorganisms: in vitro, in vivo, genetic and omics approaches. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2015, 6(58): 58.

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