Aims: To assess the incidence of intestinal inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis and to investigate whether probiotics decrease it.
Study design: In this two-phase, controlled, prospective study, faecal calprotectin was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 30 children with cystic fibrosis, 30 healthy controls and 15 children with active inflammatory bowel disease. Ten children with cystic fibrosis received Lactobacillus GG, and faecal calprotectin was re-measured 4 weeks later. Rectal nitric oxide production was measured with the rectal dialysis bag technique in 20 children with cystic fibrosis, 20 healthy controls and 15 children with inflammatory bowel disease. Five children with cystic fibrosis received Lactobacillus GG and nitric oxide was re-measured 4 weeks later.
Results: Mean faecal calprotectin was significantly higher in the two groups of patients than in controls. Abnormal values were detected in 27 of 30 cystic fibrosis and in 15 of 15 inflammatory bowel disease children. Also mean nitric oxide production was increased in both group of patients, and abnormal values were detected in 19 of 20 cystic fibrosis and in 15 of 15 inflammatory bowel disease children. Calprotectin and nitric oxide concentrations were reduced after probiotics administration.
Conclusions: Intestinal inflammation is a major feature of cystic fibrosis and is reduced by probiotics. The latter finding suggests that intestinal microflora play a major role in intestinal inflammation in cystic fibrosis children.