Abstract : N genetically susceptible individuals, an inappropriate mucosal immune responseagainst the intestinal microbiota appears to be the principal mechanism leading to thepathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn's disease and ulcerativecolitis). Therefore, modulation of the luminal contents with probiotics, mainly represented bycommensal lactic acid bacteria (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria), represents an attractivetherapeutic alternative and has already led to successful clinical trials. However, theprotective effect of probiotic bacteria clearly depends on the strains used and the precisemechanisms of action of these microorganisms are still unknown.In this study, we investigated the role of peptidoglycan and NOD2 signalling in the antiinflammatorycapacity of selected probiotic lactobacilli.In a mouse model of experimental colitis mimicking human pathology, we first showedthat the protective capacity of the anti-inflammatory strain Lactobacillus salivarius Ls33require NOD2 signalling. Since this receptor senses peptidoglycan degradation products, weprepared highly purified peptidoglycan from Ls33 and showed that systemic as well as oraladministration of this component was able to rescue mice from experimental colitis. We alsodemonstrated that the protective effect of Ls33 peptidoglycan involved the production of IL-10, the immunosuppressive indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase pathway and the expansion ofregulatory CD103+ dendritic cells and CD4+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells within mesentericlymph nodes. Furthermore, we showed that the IL-10-producing dendritic cells induced byLs33 peptidoglycan in vitro were able to protect mice from colitis in a NOD2-dependentmanner after adoptive transfer.Since the observed anti-inflammatory properties were not obtained with peptidoglycanderived from the non-anti-inflammatory strain L. acidophilus NCFM, we conducted astructural analysis of the two peptidoglycans. While the two strains exhibited the M-tri-Lys-DAsnmuropeptide, we identified an additional muropeptide released exclusively by Ls33, theM-tri-Lys. Although both synthetic muropeptides activated NOD2 in vitro, only systemicadministration of M-tri-Lys protects mice from colitis. This protective effect was NOD2-dependent but did not require the presence of MyD88, the main adapter used by Toll-likereceptors.In conclusion, our results indicate that purified peptidoglycan and specific derivedmuropeptides are active components in probiotic lactobacilli functionality and represent anew therapeutic strategy for treating inflammatory bowel diseases.