Effect of probiotic Lactobacillus strains in children with atopic dermatitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):389-95. doi: 10.1067/mai.2003.389.


Background: Recent studies suggest that oral bacteriotherapy with probiotics might be useful in the management of atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the clinical and anti-inflammatory effect of probiotic supplementation in children with AD.

Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 2 probiotic Lactobacillus strains (lyophilized Lactobacillus rhamnosus 19070-2 and Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 122460) were given in combination for 6 weeks to 1- to 13-year-old children with AD. The patients' evaluations were registered after each intervention (ie, better, unchanged, or worse). The clinical severity of the eczema was evaluated by using the scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD) score. As inflammatory markers, eosinophil cationic protein in serum and cytokine production by PBMCs were measured.

Results: After active treatment, 56% of the patients experienced improvement of the eczema, whereas only 15% believed their symptoms had improved after placebo (P =.001). The total SCORAD index, however, did not change significantly. The extent of the eczema decreased during active treatment from a mean of 18.2% to 13.7% (P =.02). The treatment response was more pronounced in allergic patients (at least one positive skin prick test response and elevated IgE levels), and in this group the SCORAD score decreased (P =.02 compared with nonallergic patients). During active treatment, serum eosinophil cationic protein levels decreased (P =.03). No significant changes in the production of the cytokines IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, or IFN-gamma were found.

Conclusions: A combination of L rhamnosus 19070-2 and L reuteri DSM 122460 was beneficial in the management of AD. The effect was more pronounced in patients with a positive skin prick test response and increased IgE levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diet therapy*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infant
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Probiotics*
  • Ribonucleases*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Blood Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ribonucleases