Lactobacillus GG treatment during pregnancy for the prevention of eczema: a randomized controlled trial

Allergy. 2011 Apr;66(4):509-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02507.x. Epub 2010 Dec 1.


Background: Probiotic supplementation in early life may be effective for preventing eczema. Previous studies have suggested that prenatal administration may be particularly important for beneficial effects.

Objective: We examined whether prenatal treatment with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) can influence the risk of eczema during infancy.

Methods: We recruited 250 pregnant women carrying infants at high risk of allergic disease to a randomized controlled trial of probiotic supplementation (LGG 1.8 × 10(10) cfu/day) from 36 weeks gestation until delivery. Infants were assessed during their first year for eczema or allergic sensitization. Immunological investigations were performed in a subgroup. Umbilical cord blood was examined for dendritic cell and regulatory T cell numbers and production of TGFβ, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IFN-γ and TNFα. Maternal breast milk was examined for total IgA, soluble CD14 and TGFβ.

Results: Prenatal probiotic treatment was not associated with reduced risk of eczema (34% probiotic, 39% placebo; RR 0.88; 95% CI 0.63, 1.22) or IgE-associated eczema (18% probiotic, 19% placebo; RR 0.94; 95% CI 0.53, 1.68). Prenatal probiotic treatment was not associated with any change in cord blood immune markers, but was associated with decreased breast milk soluble CD14 and IgA levels.

Conclusions: Prenatal treatment with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was not sufficient for preventing eczema. If probiotics are effective for preventing eczema, then a postnatal component to treatment or possibly an alternative probiotic strain is necessary.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Eczema / prevention & control*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / immunology*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult