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.