Current evidence supports the concept that oral administration of probiotic lactobacilli may be therapeutic in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children and in reestablishing normal flora in the gastrointestinal tract. Children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections may have episodes of diarrhea and frequently experience malabsorption associated with possible bacterial overgrowth; together these may interact to produce the growth abnormalities characteristic of this group. The overall objective of this investigation has been to determine whether oral administration of the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v could improve nutrient status and promote growth in children congenitally exposed to HIV. In addition, the possible beneficial effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v in modulating immune response was evaluated. In preliminary results described here, we report on the ability of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v to colonize children with HIV and to elicit specific systemic immune response after oral supplementation.
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