We investigated the effect of a formula containing two different prebiotics (bifidogenic growth stimulator and galacto-oligosaccharide) and fermented milk products on intestinal microbiota and antibody responses to an influenza vaccine in enterally fed elderly in-patients. Patients were administered either formula containing prebiotics and fermented milk products (group F: n = 12, 79.9 ± 9.5 years old) or standard formula (group C: n = 12, 80.7 ± 10.1 years old) via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy during a 14-week intervention period. Subjects were immunized with an influenza vaccine (A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B) at week 4 of the intervention. Blood biochemical indices, intestinal bacteria populations and antibody titers were analyzed. Bifidobacterium counts increased significantly in group F compared with group C. The enhanced antibody titers against A/H1N1 were maintained in group F for a longer period compared with group C. The titers against A/H3N2 were unchanged between both groups, and those against B were significantly lower in group F than in group C, although few subjects had seroprotective titers against A/H3N2 and B. These results suggest that administration of the formula containing prebiotics and fermented milk products may maintain antibody titers for longer periods through the improvement of intestinal microbiota.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium; enterally fed patients; hemagglutination inhibition test; seroprotective rate.