ASM logoUpper respiratory tract infections are known to be caused by an acute infection which involves nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx. Experts from the Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy, and Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland reveal that bacteria in the mouth seemingly offer probiotic potential against upper respiratory tract infection.

Internal communications between human hosts and their microbes is austerely understood. Probiotics that are live microorganisms support health within their host. Benefits of probiotics have mainly been explored in the intestinal tract; other studies reveal that they may contribute to wellness in the stomach, vaginal tract, skin and mouth.

A leading cause of visits to the pediatrician is said to be related to the upper respiratory tract infections mainly among children aged between 5 and 12. The main cause linked with such infections is Streptococcus pyogenes. The only treatment with prescription rates running as high as 90% is antibiotics.

Experts share that “A probiotic strategy effective in the prophylaxis of pharyngitis, therefore, could provide a significant social benefit.”

Bacteria separated from healthy volunteers were examined and two potential probiotic bacterial strains Streptococcus salivarius RS1 and ST3 were recognized. Contrast with a recently developed oral probiotic prototype, S. salivarius strain K12, all three bound to human pharyngeal cells and antagonized S. pyogenes bond and grow. They were all sensitive to routinely used antibiotics for treating upper respiratory tract infections.

The researchers further suggest that the selected commensal streptococci represent potential pharyngeal probiotic candidates. They could exhibit a good adaptation level to the host and possess potential immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

These findings were published in the June 2010 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.