Background: The role of probiotics in prevention of allergic disease is still not clear; efficacy may depend on the timing, dose, duration, and specific probiotic used. Using a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial (Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12607000518460), we have shown that in a high-risk birth cohort, maternal supplementation from 35 weeks gestation until 6 months if breastfeeding and infant supplementation from birth until 2 years with Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (HN001) (6 × 10(9) cfu/day) halved the cumulative prevalence of eczema at 2 and 4 years. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis HN019 (HN019) (9 × 10(9) cfu/day) had no significant effect.
Objective: To determine whether differences in effects of HN001 and HN019 on eczema persist to age 6 years, and to investigate effects on sensitization.
Methods: Standard procedures were used to assess eczema (The UK Working Party's Criteria), eczema severity (SCORAD), atopic sensitization [skin prick tests (SPT), total and specific IgE] and standard questions used for asthma, wheeze, and rhinoconjunctivitis.
Results: HN001 was associated with significantly lower cumulative prevalence of eczema (HR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.39-0.80), SCORAD ≥ 10 (HR = 0.69, 0.49-0.98) and SPT sensitization (HR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.48-0.99). The point prevalence of eczema (RR = 0.66, 95% CI 0.44-1.00), SCORAD ≥ 10 (RR = 0.62, 95% CI 0.38-1.01) and SPT sensitization (RR = 0.72, 95% CI 0.53-1.00) were also reduced among children taking HN001. HN019 had no significant effect on any outcome.
Conclusion and clinical relevance: This study provides evidence for the efficacy of the probiotic L. rhamnosus HN001 in preventing the development of eczema and possibly also atopic sensitization in high risk infants to age 6 years. The absence of a similar effect for HN019 indicates that benefits may be species specific.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis HN019; Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001; asthma; atopic sensitization; eczema; paediatrics; probiotics; randomized controlled trial; rhinoconjunctivitis; wheeze.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.