Dendritic cells (DC) play a pivotal regulatory role in activation of both the innate as well as the adaptive immune system by responding to environmental microorganisms. We have previously shown that Lactobacillus acidophilus induces a strong production of the pro-inflammatory and Th1 polarizing cytokine IL-12 in DC, whereas bifidobacteria do not induce IL-12 but inhibit the IL-12 production induced by lactobacilli. In the present study, genome-wide microarrays were used to investigate the gene expression pattern of murine DC stimulated with Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium bifidum Z9. L. acidophilus NCFM strongly induced expression of interferon (IFN)-beta, other virus defence genes, and cytokine and chemokine genes related to the innate and the adaptive immune response. By contrast, B. bifidum Z9 up-regulated genes encoding cytokines and chemokines related to the innate immune response. Moreover, B. bifidum Z9 inhibited the expression of the Th1-promoting genes induced by L. acidophilus NCFM and had an additive effect on genes of the innate immune response and Th2 skewing genes. The gene encoding Jun dimerization protein 2 (JDP2), a transcription factor regulating the activation of JNK, was one of the few genes only induced by B. bifidum Z9. Neutralization of IFN-beta abrogated L. acidophilus NCFM-induced expression of Th1-skewing genes, and blocking of the JNK pathway completely inhibited the expression of IFN-beta. Our results indicate that B. bifidum Z9 actively inhibits the expression of genes related to the adaptive immune system in murine dendritic cells and that JPD2 via blocking of IFN-beta plays a central role in this regulatory mechanism.
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