Already before BioGaia was founded, intensive research on Lactobacillus reuteri was being conducted at places such as the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala. There, Sven Lindgren and Walter Dobrogosz studied how Lactobacillus reuteri was able to inhibit pathogenic microorganisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Stefan Roos then moved on to preclinical research by determining how Lactobacillus reuteri binds to the intestinal mucous membrane. Stefan defended his thesis on this in 1999 and he still works part time as a researcher at SLU, but for the past three years he has also been employed by BioGaia, where he is responsible for coordinating preclinical research.
“Over the years, many aspects of Lactobacillus reuteri and its functions in the body have been mapped out, although numerous questions still remain to be answered,” says Stefan. “Forinstance, we know that Lactobacillus reuteri in preclinical models has a beneficial effect on gut motility, reduces perceived pain intensity and can prevent the intestinal mucous membrane from leaking bacteria and toxic substances. These so-called mechanisms of action most likely lie behind the clinical effects shown by Lactobacillus reuteri. “In other words, preclinical research gives us knowledge about how the probiotic bacteria work, which is important for several reasons. First and foremost, this knowledge can generate ideas for how to develop more effective products, but it also adds to the credibility of the products,” says Stefan.