Pro- and synbiotics to control inflammation and infection in patients with multiple injuries

J Trauma. 2009 Oct;67(4):815-21. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31819d979e.


Background: A recent randomized clinical trial of our group disclosed considerable reduction of the infective sequelae after administration of a synbiotic formula, namely Synbiotic 2000FORTE, in patients with multiple injuries, the latter being a preparation of four probiotics. The mechanism of action of synbiotics was studied.

Methods: A total of 72 patients with severe multiple injuries were allocated to a 15-day administration of either placebo or the synbiotic formula. The association of bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), and endotoxins (LPS) were studied.

Results: Sepsis in the field of bacteremia occurred in 13 patients treated with placebo (36.1%) compared with 5 patients treated with Synbiotic 2000FORTE (13.9%, p = 0.028 between groups). The time to progression to primary bacteremia was longer among patients treated with Synbiotic 2000FORTE compared with placebo (p = 0.0237 between groups). Twelve (33.3%) and five (13.9%) placebo-treated and probiotic-treated patients, respectively, developed ventilator-associated pneumonia with Acinetobacter baumannii as a bacterial cause (p = 0.047 between groups). Treatment with synbiotics was accompanied by reduction of white blood cell counts and LPS and CRP levels in either patients who did or did not develop sepsis.

Conclusions: Synbiotics contained in the studied formula decrease significantly the risk for sepsis by bloodstream infections and the occurrence of VAP by A. baumannii. The mechanisms of action might involve direct immunomodulatory effect, prevention of bacterial translocation, or most likely a combination of both.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Critical Illness
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / prevention & control
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / prevention & control


  • Polysaccharides