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Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 Aug;38(8):1342-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03008.x. Epub 2008 May 8.

Impact of maternal atopy and probiotic supplementation during pregnancy on infant sensitization: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Central Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland. anu.huurre@utu.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The effects of breastfeeding and probiotics on infant sensitization still remain discrepant.

OBJECTIVE:

To explore probable explanatory factors in infant sensitization and the protective effect of probiotics.

METHODS:

Altogether 171 mother-infant pairs from an ongoing placebo-controlled double-blind study with nutrition modulation by dietary counselling and probiotic supplementation were studied. Skin prick testing was done in infants at 6 and 12 months and in mothers at third trimester of pregnancy. The breast milk concentrations of cytokines TGF-beta2, soluble CD14, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-10, IL-6, IL-4 and IL-2 were measured.

RESULTS:

The risk of sensitization increased in infants with allergic mothers breastfeeding over 6 months [odds ratio (OR=4.83, P=0.005)], or exclusively breastfeeding over 2.5 months (OR=3.4, P=0.018). Probiotic supplementation had a protective effect against sensitization in infants with a high hereditary risk due to maternal sensitization (OR=0.3, P=0.023). The concentration of TGF-beta2 tended to be higher in the colostrum of the mothers in the probiotic group as compared with those on placebo (probiotic/placebo ratio=1.50, P=0.073). A similar result was obtained in the subgroup of allergic mothers (probiotic/placebo ratio=1.56, P=0.094).

CONCLUSION:

Infants of atopic mothers, specifically when breastfed exclusively over 2.5 months or totally over 6 months, had a higher risk of sensitization at the age of 12 months. This risk could be reduced by the use of probiotics during pregnancy and lactation, partly by resulting in a beneficial composition of the breast milk.

Comment in

PMID:
18477013
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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