Effect of probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536 [corrected] in relieving clinical symptoms and modulating plasma cytokine levels of Japanese cedar pollinosis during the pollen season. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2006;16(2):86-93.


Probiotic microorganisms have been shown to be effective in the treatment of allergic inflammation and food allergy, but their efficacy remains controversial. This study tested the effect of a yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum BB536 in the treatment of Japanese cedar pollinosis (JCPsis). Forty subjects with a clinical history of JCPsis were given yoghurt either containing BB536 (BB536 yoghurt) or without BB536 (placebo yoghurt) at 2 X 100 g per day for 14 weeks, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Subjective symptoms and self-care measures were recorded daily and blood samples were taken before and during the intervention (at weeks 4, 9, and 14) to measure the blood parameter levels related to JCPsis. Yoghurt supplemented with BB536 significantly alleviated eye symptoms compared with placebo yoghurt (odds ratio 0.31; 95% confidence interval 0.10-0.97; p = 0.044). Although no statistically significant differences were detected, nasal symptoms such as itching, rhinorrhea, and blockage, as well as throat symptoms tended to be relieved with the BB536 yoghurt. BB536 tended to suppress the decreasing blood levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-y) and the increasing blood eosinophil rates; a significantly higher IFN-gamma level was observed for the difference from baseline at week 4. A decreased trend in the difference from baseline levels of JCP-specific IgE levels was also observed at week 4 in the BB536 group compared with the placebo group. In conclusion, these results suggest that intake of BB536-supplemented yoghurt may relieve JCPsis symptoms, probably through a modulating effect on Th balance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Cryptomeria / immunology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / blood
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / therapy*
  • Yogurt


  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma