Journal: Clinical & Experimental Allergy
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Evidence is mounting that progressive westernization and allergic disease are associated with disturbance of the intestinal microbial balance. This includes altered early colonization patterns and reduced bacterial diversity. In 2009, we reported results of early and long-term administration of selected probiotics to high-risk infants. All participating children had a positive family history of allergic disease, such as atopic eczema, food allergy, asthma or allergic rhinitis in either the mother or the father plus an older sibling. In these children, administration of a probiotic mixture consisting of Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactococcus
lactis (EcologicPanda, Winclove Probiotics B.V., Amsterdam, the Netherlands) during pregnancy
and during the first year of life was compared with placebo in a randomized controlled trial. Treatment with this combination of probiotics resulted in a preventive effect on the incidence of eczema, but not atopic eczema (eczema and IgE sensitization) . This preventive effect was established within the first 3 months of life, together with significant changes in the intestinal
microbiota and decreased IL-5 production. No differences were observed in respiratory symptoms indicative for asthma or allergic rhinitis at the age of 2 years. In this study, we hypothesise a possible beneficial effect of long-term perinatal administration of selected probiotic strains on the prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in these high-risk children at the age of 6 years.