Lacticaseibacillus paracasei DG enhances the lactoferrin anti-SARS-CoV-2 response in Caco-2 cells

Claudio Salaris, Melania Scarpa, Marina Elli, Alice Bertolini, Simone Guglielmetti, Fabrizio Pregliasco, Paola Brun, Ignazio Castagliuolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is causing the ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which primarily manifests with respiratory distress and may also lead to symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are living microorganisms that have been shown to confer immune benefits. In this study, we investigated the immunomodulatory effects and anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of three different Lacticaseibacillus probiotic strains, either alone or in combination with lactoferrin, using the intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cell line. Our results revealed that the Lacticaseibacillus paracasei DG strain significantly induced the expression of genes involved in protective antiviral immunity and prevented the expression of proinflammatory genes triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Moreover, L. paracasei DG significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. L. paracasei DG also positively affected the antiviral immune activity of lactoferrin and significantly augmented its anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells. Overall, our work shows that the probiotic strain L. paracasei DG is a promising candidate that exhibits prophylactic potential against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1961970
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • antiviral immunity
  • covid-19
  • lactobacilli
  • lactoferrin
  • Probiotics
  • sars-Cov-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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