Lactobacillus GG effect in increasing IFN-gamma production in infants with cow's milk allergy

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Jul;114(1):131-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2004.03.036.


Background: Probiotic bacteria are potentially beneficial to maturation of the infant's immune system.

Objective: To examine the role of probiotic bacteria in treatment of cow's milk allergy (CMA) and IgE-associated dermatitis, we investigated the immunologic effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and a mixture of 4 bacterial species (MIX).

Methods: In a randomized, double-blind study design, concomitantly with elimination diet and skin treatment, LGG, MIX, or placebo was given for 4 weeks to infants with suspected CMA. After anti-CD3 (OKT3) and anti-CD28 stimulation of PBMCs, IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-12 levels were measured in culture supernatants by ELISA. Intracellular IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-5 production on CD4 lymphocytes was analyzed with fluorescence-activated cell sorting.

Results: Secretion of IFN-gamma by PBMCs before the treatment was significantly lower in infants with CMA (P=.016) and in infants with IgE-associated CMA (P=.003) than in non-CMA infants. Among the infants who received LGG, the level of secreted IFN-gamma increased in those with CMA (P=.006) and in those with IgE-associated dermatitis (P=.017) when compared with the placebo group. Secretion of IL-4 increased significantly in infants with CMA in the MIX (P=.034) but not in the LGG group.

Conclusion: Deficiency in IFN-gamma response appears to be related to CMA. LGG raises IFN-gamma production of PBMC in infants with CMA and in infants with IgE-associated dermatitis and may thus provide beneficial TH1 immunomodulatory signals. MIX, although containing LGG, appears to modulate the immune responses differently.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Infant
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Lactobacillus / immunology
  • Male
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interferon-gamma