Background: Probiotics have been studied as immunomodulatory agents of allergy. Several human probiotic trials tracking the development of eczema and other forms of allergy have yielded inconsistent results. A recent infant study demonstrated that pre and postnatal Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (HN001) supplementation decreased the prevalence of eczema and IgE associated eczema. However, the influence of HN001 on the incidence of wheeze, asthma, and/or other allergic manifestations has yet to be reported.
Objective: This study was conducted to determine the effects of the probiotic HN001 on the development of allergic lung disease in a pig model.
Methods: Allergy was induced by a series of subcutaneous and intratracheal sensitizations with Ascaris suum allergen (ASA) during a six week time frame in post-weanling pigs supplemented daily with HN001, or without supplementation. One week following final sensitization intradermal skin tests and respiratory challenges were conducted.
Results: In response to intradermal and respiratory challenges, ASA-sensitized pigs fed HN001 had less severe skin flare reactions, smaller increases in pleural pressure, and trends towards lower changes in arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressure levels compared to control pigs. The frequency of ASA-specific IFN-γ-secreting peripheral blood mononuclear cells, as well as the amount of IL-10 produced by ASA-specific cells, was of greater magnitude in probiotic-fed pigs compared to control animals. These observations suggest that differences in clinical responses to the allergen challenges may be related to probiotic-induced modulation of Th1 (IFN-γ) and regulatory (IL-10) cytokine expression.
Conclusions: Probiotic supplementation decreased the severity of allergic skin and lung responses in allergen-sensitized pigs with a corresponding increase in IFN-γ expression. A similar correlation between certain allergic responses and increased IFN-γ expression has been reported in human clinical studies of allergy; this pig model of allergy may be indicative of potential probiotic modulation of allergic lung disease in humans.