McMaster University

McMaster University

John Bienenstock


Distinguished University Professor
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Division: Molecular Medicine

Associate Member, Medicine
Director, The Brain Body Institute (BBI)
Former Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences
Former Chair, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine

St. Joseph's Healthcare
3rd Floor Juravinski Tower
54 Charlton Avenue East
Hamilton ON L8N 4A6
905-522-1155 Ext 5171
Fax: 905-540-6593

Assistant: Marie Bailey

John Bienenstock

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

FRSC, 1992
FRCP, 1980
FRCP(C), 1976
MRCP, Royal College of Physicians (UK), 1964
MBBS, King's College and Westminister Hospital Medical School (UK), 1960


Research Focus

Immunology; immunopathology; immunophysiology; mucosal immunology and its alteration in a variety of disease models; the role of neuroimmune interactions in allergy and inflammation; the reciprocal communication between the nervous system and immune systems; mechanisms of action of commensal bacteria on the nervous system and behaviour and in various models of inflammation.

He has made siginificant contributions in medical research.  Among these are: Mucosal immunology; neuroimmunology; mast cells, and psychoneuroimmunology.

His current projects include: functional role of mucosal mast cells; mechanisms of action of commensal bacteria in models of asthma, colitis and visceral pain; effects of commensal bacteria on cognition and behaviour; neuroimmune mechanisms.

He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles and other publications; authored, edited and co-edited 8 books including the standard text on mucosal immunology.

Selected Publications

  • Furuno T, Ita A, Koma Y, Watabe K, Yokozaki H, Bienenstock J, Nakanishi M, Kitamura Y.  The spermatogenic Ig superfamily/synaptic cell adhesion molecule mast-cell adhesion molecule promotes interaction with nerves. J  Immunol. 2005 Jun 1;174(11):6934-42.
  • Kamiya T, Wang L, Forsythe P, Goettsche G, Mao YK, Wang YF, Tougas G, Bienenstock J.  Inhibitory effects of Lactobacillus reuteri on visceral pain induced by colorectal distension in Sprague Dawley rats. Gut. 2006 Feb;55(2):191-6. Epub 2005 Dec 16.
  • Forsythe P, Inman MD, Bienenstock J.  Oral treatment with live Lactobacillus reuteri inhibits the allergic airway response in mice. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Mar 15;175(6):561-9.  Epub 2007 Jan 4.
  • Desbonnet L, Garrett L, Clarke G, Bienenstock J, Dinan TG. The probiotic Bifidobacteria infantis: An assessment of potential antidepressant properties in the rat. J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Dec;43(2): 164-74. Epub 2008 May 5.
  • van der Kleij H, O’Mahony C, Shanahan F, O’Mahony L, Bienenstock J.  Protective effects of Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium infantis in murine models for colitis do not involve the vagus nerve Am J Physiol: Regul Integr Comp Physiol  2008 Oct;295(4): R1131-7. Epub 2008 July 30.
  • Karimi K, Inman M, Bienenstock J, Forsythe P.  Lactobacillus reuteri induced Regulatory T cells protect against an allergic airway response in mice Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009 Feb 1;179(3):186-93. Epub 2008 Nov 21
  • Kunze WA, Mao YK, Wang B, Huizinga JD, Ma X, Forsythe P, Bienenstock J.  Lactobacillus reuteri enhances excitability of colonic AH neurons by inhibiting calcium dependent potassium channel opening.  J Cell Mol Med. 2009 Aug;13(8B):2261-70. Epub 2009 Feb 4.
  • Forsythe P, Sudo N, Dinan T, Taylor VH, Bienenstock.  Mood and gut feelings.  Brain Behav Immun. 2010; Jan;24(1):9-16. Epub 2009 May 28. Review.
  • Karimi K, Bienenstock J, Wang L, Forsythe P.  The vagus nerve modulates CD4(+) T cell activity. Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Feb;24(2):316-23. Epub 2009 Nov 1.
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