Nature Reviews Immunology 12, 728-734 (October 2012) | doi:10.1038/nri3312

ViewpointThe impact of probiotics and prebiotics on the immune system

Todd R. Klaenhammer1, Michiel Kleerebezem2, Matthias Volkmar Kopp3 & Maria Rescigno4  About the authors


Probiotics and prebiotics are increasingly being added to foodstuffs with claims of health benefits. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are thought to have beneficial effects on the host, whereas prebiotics are ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or function of beneficial intestinal microorganisms. But can these products directly modulate immune function and influence inflammatory diseases? Here, Nature Reviews Immunology asks four experts to discuss these issues and provide their thoughts on the future application of probiotics as a disease therapy.

Author affiliations

  1. Todd R. Klaenhammer is at the Department of Food, Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences, 339 Schaub Hall, BOX 7624, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.
  2. Michiel Kleerebezem is at the Host Microbe Interactomics Group, Wageningen University, De Elst 1, 6708 WD Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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  3. Matthias Volkmar Kopp is at the Department of Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy, Children's Hospital, University of Lübeck, UKSH, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Luebeck, Germany.
  4. Maria Rescigno is at the Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Via Adamello 16, 20139 Milan, Italy.

Published online 25 September 2012