Probiotics modulate the immune response and may have protective effects against atopic dermatitis (AD). Clinical trials using dogs with spontaneous disease are limited by confounding factors such as different diets, environments and sensitizations while a more controlled evaluation is possible using experimental models. A validated model of canine AD showed that early exposure to Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) significantly decreases allergen-specific IgE and partially prevents AD in the first 6 months of life. This study is a follow-up three years after discontinuation of LGG. Clinical signs were evaluated after allergen challenge with ragweed, timothy, Dermatophagoides farinae. Allergen-specific IgE, IL-10 and TGF-β were measured on the 1st day of challenge, before allergen exposure. Normal dogs were included as controls. Analyses included seven dogs in the non-probiotic and nine in the probiotic litter. For clinical scores, a 2-Group × 9-Time Analysis of Variance showed significant effects of group (p=0.0003, probiotic<controls), time (p<0.0001) and group × time interaction (p<0.0001). IL-10 for all allergens was significantly higher in the control group than probiotics-exposed dogs. Allergen-specific IgE and TGF-β did not differ between litters. Early exposure to probiotics has long-term clinical and immunological effects in this model and larger studies using dogs with spontaneous disease are needed.
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