Specific probiotics alleviate allergic rhinitis during the birch pollen season

Ouwehand, Arthur C.; Nermes, Merja; Collado, Maria Carmen; Rautonen, Nina; Salminen, Seppo; Isolauri, Erika; Ringel-Kulka, Tamar
July 2009
World Journal of Gastroenterology;7/14/2009, Vol. 15 Issue 26, p3261
Academic Journal
AIM: To investigate whether birch pollen allergy symptoms are linked with gut microbiota changes and whether probiotics have an effect on these. METHODS: Forty seven children with confirmed birch pollen allergy were randomized to receive either a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) NCFM™ (ATCC 700396) and Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis) BI-04 (ATCC SD5219) or placebo in a double-blind manner for 4 mo, starting prior to onset of the birch pollen season. Symptoms were recorded in a diary. Blood samples were taken for analysis of cytokines and eosinophils. Fecal samples were analysed for microbiota components, calprotectin and IgA. Nasal swabs were taken for analysis of eosinophils. RESULTS: The pollen season induced a reduction in Bifidobacterium, Clostridium and Bacteroides which could not be prevented by the probiotic intervention. During the intervention, significantly higher numbers of B. lactis 11.2 x 107 ± 4.2 x 107 VS 0.1 x 107 -± 0.1 X 107 bacteria/g feces (P < 0.0001) and L. acidophilus NCFM™ 3.5 x 106 ±1.3 x 106 vs 0.2 x 106+±0.1 x 106 bacteria/g feces (P < 0.0001) were observed in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group. During May, there was a tendency for fewer subjects, (76.2% vs 95.2%, P = 0.078) to report runny nose, while during June, fewer subjects, 11.1% vs 33.3%, reported nasal blocking in the probiotics group (P = 0.101). Concomitantly, fewer subjects in the probiotic group had infiltration of eosinophils in the nasal mucosa compared to the placebo group, 57.1% vs 95% (P = 0.013). Eye symptoms tended to be slightly more frequent in the probiotic group, 12.5 d [interquartile range (IQR) 6-18] vs 7.5 d (IQR 0-11.5) (P = 0.066) during May. Fecal IgA was increased in the placebo group during the pollen season; this increase was prevented by the probiotics (P = 0.028). CONCLUSION: Birch pollen allergy was shown to be associated with changes in fecal microbiota composition. The specific combination of probiotics used was shown to prevent the pollen-induced infiltration of eosinophils into the nasal mucosa, and indicated a trend for reduced nasal symptoms.


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