Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC55730 in cystic fibrosis

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Jan;58(1):81-6. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000187.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) the effect of Lactobacillus reuteri (LR) on the rate of respiratory exacerbations and of the infections of both upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

Methods: Prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolling 61 patients with CF with mild-to-moderate lung disease at the Regional Center for CF of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Rome "La Sapienza." All of the patients were not hospital inpatients at the time of the enrollment. Inclusion criteria were forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) >70% predicted; no inhaled or systemic steroids, no anti-inflammatory drugs, antileukotrienes, and mast cell membrane stabilizers; and no serious organ involvement. Exclusion criteria were a history of pulmonary exacerbation or upper respiratory infection in the previous 2 months; changes in medications in the last 2 months; a history of hemoptysis in the last 2 months; and colonization with Burkholderia cepacia or mycobacteria. Patients were randomly assigned to receive LR (30 patients) in 5 drops per day (10(10) colony-forming units) or placebo (31 patients) for 6 months. Main outcomes were number of episodes of pulmonary exacerbations and hospital admissions for pulmonary exacerbations, number of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infections. FEV1, fecal calprotectin, and cytokine profile in induced sputum and plasma were assessed at baseline and at the end of the trial.

Results: Pulmonary exacerbations were significantly reduced in the LR group compared with the placebo group (P<0.01; odds ratio 0.06 [95% confidence interval {CI} 0-0.40]; number needed to treat 3 [95% CI 2-7]). Similarly, the number of upper respiratory tract infections (in our series only otitis) was significantly reduced in the LR group compared with the placebo group (P<0.05; odds ratio 0.14 [95% CI 0-0.96]; number needed to treat 6 [95% CI 3-102]). The 2 groups did not differ statistically in the mean number and duration of hospitalizations for pulmonary exacerbations and gastrointestinal infections. There was no significant statistical difference in the mean delta value of FEV1, fecal calprotectin concentration, and tested cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-8) between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: LR reduces pulmonary exacerbations and upper respiratory tract infections in patients with CF with mild-to-moderate lung disease. LR administration may have a beneficial effect on the disease course of CF.

Trial registration: NCT01737983.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / metabolism
  • Limosilactobacillus reuteri* / classification
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control
  • Lung* / metabolism
  • Lung* / microbiology
  • Lung* / pathology
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Numbers Needed To Treat
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • FEV protein, human
  • Interleukin-8
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha

Associated data