Probiotic bacteria are producers of secretory products such as bacteriocins and polysaccharides. Both homopolymeric and heteropolymeric exopolysaccharides (EPS) present on the surface of microorganisms have shown beneficial properties. While the fact that they play a role in bacterial homeostasis is well established, studies exploring their health promoting effects have also gained traction. Some exopolysaccharides function by inducing immune tolerance, others act by evading immune responses such as those by B and T cells. The interaction between the EPS and the immune system helps protect the bacteria against an attack by the host immune system. Several exopolysaccharides also show tolerogenic properties by reducing the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing IL-10 production. They are also associated with anti-bacterial activity, anti-biofilm activity and anti-tumour properties. This review highlights the different types of exopolysaccharides and their health benefiting potentials. Better understanding of these mechanisms will pave the way for harnessing their potential to improve our health.
Probiotic, Exopolysaccharide, Immunomodulation, Anti-biofilm, Adhesion, Colonization, Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Cytokines
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