No effects of probiotics on atopic dermatitis in infancy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 Jul;36(7):899-906. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2006.02513.x.


Background: Studies have been performed suggesting that administration of probiotics may have therapeutic and/or preventive benefits in the development of sensitization and atopic disease, particularly in infants with atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and immunological effects of supplementation of a hydrolysed formula with two probiotic strains of bacteria on symptoms of AD in infancy.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. After 4-6 weeks of baseline and double-blind, placebo-controlled challenges for diagnosis of cow's milk allergy (CMA), infants less than 5 months old with AD received a hydrolysed whey-based formula as placebo (n = 17), or supplemented with either Lactobacillus rhamnosus (n = 17) or Lactobacillus GG (n = 16) for 3 months. Before, during and after intervention, the clinical severity of AD was evaluated using SCORing index Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD). Allergic sensitization was evaluated by measurement of total IgE and a panel of food-specific IgEs as well as skin prick testing for cow's milk. Inflammatory parameters were blood eosinophils, eosinophil protein X in urine, fecal alpha-1-antitrypsin and production of IL-4, IL-5 and IFN-gamma by peripheral blood mononuclear cells after polyclonal stimulation.

Results: No statistically significant effects of probiotic supplementation on SCORAD, sensitization, inflammatory parameters or cytokine production between groups were found. Only four infants were diagnosed with CMA.

Conclusion: We found no clinical or immunological effect of the probiotic bacteria used in infants with AD. Our results indicate that oral supplementation with these probiotic bacterial strains will not have a significant impact on the symptoms of infantile AD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin E