Therapeutic Microbiology: The Role of Bifidobacterium breve as Food Supplement for the Prevention/Treatment of Paediatric Diseases

Nutrients. 2018 Nov 10;10(11):1723. doi: 10.3390/nu10111723.


The human intestinal microbiota, establishing a symbiotic relationship with the host, plays a significant role for human health. It is also well known that a disease status is frequently characterized by a dysbiotic condition of the gut microbiota. A probiotic treatment can represent an alternative therapy for enteric disorders and human pathologies not apparently linked to the gastrointestinal tract. Among bifidobacteria, strains of the species Bifidobacterium breve are widely used in paediatrics. B. breve is the dominant species in the gut of breast-fed infants and it has also been isolated from human milk. It has antimicrobial activity against human pathogens, it does not possess transmissible antibiotic resistance traits, it is not cytotoxic and it has immuno-stimulating abilities. This review describes the applications of B. breve strains mainly for the prevention/treatment of paediatric pathologies. The target pathologies range from widespread gut diseases, including diarrhoea and infant colics, to celiac disease, obesity, allergic and neurological disorders. Moreover, B. breve strains are used for the prevention of side infections in preterm newborns and during antibiotic treatments or chemotherapy. With this documentation, we hope to increase knowledge on this species to boost the interest in the emerging discipline known as "therapeutic microbiology".

Keywords: Bifidobacterium breve; paediatrics; probiotics; therapeutic microbiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium breve*
  • Celiac Disease / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Colic / drug therapy
  • Dysbiosis* / complications
  • Dysbiosis* / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / drug therapy
  • Infant
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy
  • Pediatric Obesity / drug therapy
  • Pediatrics
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*