Background. Mucositis is a debilitating intestinal side effect of chemotherapeutic regimens. Probiotics have been considered a possible preventative treatment for mucositis. Streptococcus thermophilus TH-4 (TH-4), a newly identified probiotic, has been shown to partially alleviate mucositis induced by administration of the antimetabolite chemotherapy drug, methotrexate in rats; likely mediated through a mechanism of folate production. However, its effects against other classes of chemotherapy drug have yet to be determined. Aims. The authors investigated the effects of TH-4 in a rat model of mucositis induced by the anthracycline chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin. Methods. Gastrointestinal damage was induced in female Dark Agouti rats (148.3 ± 1.5 g) by intraperitoneal injection of doxorubicin (20 mg/kg). Animals recieved a daily oral gavage of TH-4 at 109 cfu/ml or skim milk (vehicle) from days 0 to 8. At day 6, rats were injected with either saline or doxorubicin. At kill, small intestinal tissues were collected for determination of sucrase and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activities and histological assessment. Results. Body weight was significantly decreased by doxorubicin compared with normal controls (p < 0.05). Histological parameters, such as crypt depth and villus height, were also significantly decreased by doxorubicin. TH-4 partially prevented the loss of body weight induced by doxorubicin (2.3% compared with 4%), but provided no further therapeutic benefit. Conclusions. The minimal amelioration of doxorubicin-induced mucositis by TH-4 further supports folate production as a likely mechanism of TH-4 action against methotrexate-induced mucositis. Further studies into TH-4 are required to confirm its applicability to other conventional chemotherapy regimens.
- Streptococcus thermophilus