Specific probiotics in enhancing maturation of IgA responses in formula-fed infants

Pediatr Res. 2006 Aug;60(2):221-4. doi: 10.1203/01.pdr.0000228317.72933.db.


The first months of life represent a critical period for the maturation of the infant's immune system and, thus, a window of opportunity for measures to reduce the risk of disease. We hypothesized that specific probiotics might promote mucosal immunologic maturation in formula-fed infants. The numbers of cow's milk-specific and total IgA-secreting cells were measured at 3, 7, and 12 mo of age in a double-blind placebo-controlled study of 72 infants with early artificial feeding. The infants consumed infant formula supplemented with specific probiotics (Lactobacillus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12) or placebo during the first year of life. Further analyses of the serum concentrations of the IgA-inducing cytokine TGF-beta2 and the soluble innate microbial receptor sCD14 were conducted. The numbers of cow's milk-specific IgA secreting cells were significantly higher in infants receiving probiotics compared with those receiving placebo (p = 0.045, ANOVA for repeated measures). At 12 mo of age, the serum concentrations of sCD14 were 1479 pg/mL [95% confidence interval (CI) 1373-1592] in infants receiving probiotics and 1291 pg/mL (95% CI 1152-1445) in infants receiving placebo (p = 0.046). Administration of the probiotics Lactobacillus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12 at the time of introduction of cow's milk in the infant's diet results in cow's milk-specific IgA antibody responsiveness that may be the result of increased production of sCD14.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / biosynthesis*
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / administration & dosage*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / blood
  • Milk / immunology
  • Nutritional Support
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta