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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 610769, 11 pages
Review Article

Probiotics for the Control of Parasites: An Overview

Team Adaptation of Protozoa to their Environment, UMR 7245 CNRS, National Museum of Natural History, CP52, 61 rue Buffon, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

Received 22 February 2011; Revised 11 July 2011; Accepted 11 July 2011

Academic Editor: José F. Silveira

Copyright © 2011 Marie-Agnès Travers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Probiotics are defined as live organisms, which confer benefits to the host. Their efficiency was demonstrated for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory infections, and allergic symptoms, but their use is mostly limited to bacterial and viral diseases. During the last decade, probiotics as means for the control of parasite infections were reported covering mainly intestinal diseases but also some nongut infections, that are all of human and veterinary importance. In most cases, evidence for a beneficial effect was obtained by studies using animal models. In a few cases, cellular interactions between probiotics and pathogens or relevant host cells were also investigated using in vitro culture systems. However, molecular mechanisms mediating the beneficial effects are as yet poorly understood. These studies indicate that probiotics might indeed provide a strain-specific protection against parasites, probably through multiple mechanisms. But more unravelling studies are needed to justify probiotic utilisation in therapeutics.