Mycobacterium vaccae NCTC 11659, a Soil-Derived Bacterium with Stress Resilience Properties, Modulates the Proinflammatory Effects of LPS in Macrophages

Evan M Holbrook, Cristian A Zambrano, Caelan T O Wright, Elizabeth M Dubé, Jessica R Stewart, William J Sanders, Matthew G Frank, Andrew S MacDonald, Stefan O Reber, Christopher A Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammatory conditions, including allergic asthma and conditions in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a risk factor, such as stress-related psychiatric disorders, are prevalent and are a significant cause of disability worldwide. Novel approaches for the prevention and treatment of these disorders are needed. One approach is the use of immunoregulatory microorganisms, such as Mycobacterium vaccae NCTC 11659, which have anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and stress-resilience properties. However, little is known about how M. vaccae NCTC 11659 affects specific immune cell targets, including monocytes, which can traffic to peripheral organs and the central nervous system and differentiate into monocyte-derived macrophages that, in turn, can drive inflammation and neuroinflammation. In this study, we investigated the effects of M. vaccae NCTC 11659 and subsequent lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge on gene expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages. THP-1 monocytes were differentiated into macrophages, exposed to M. vaccae NCTC 11659 (0, 10, 30, 100, 300 µg/mL), then, 24 h later, challenged with LPS (0, 0.5, 2.5, 250 ng/mL), and assessed for gene expression 24 h following challenge with LPS. Exposure to M. vaccae NCTC 11659 prior to challenge with higher concentrations of LPS (250 ng/mL) polarized human monocyte-derived macrophages with decreased IL12A, IL12B, and IL23A expression relative to IL10 and TGFB1 mRNA expression. These data identify human monocyte-derived macrophages as a direct target of M. vaccae NCTC 11659 and support the development of M. vaccae NCTC 11659 as a potential intervention to prevent stress-induced inflammation and neuroinflammation implicated in the etiology and pathophysiology of inflammatory conditions and stress-related psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5176
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023


  • IL-10
  • IL-12
  • IL-23
  • Mycobacterium vaccae
  • TGF-β1
  • THP-1
  • immunoregulation
  • macrophage
  • monocyte
  • real-time RT-PCR


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