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The immune system in healthy adults and patients with atopic dermatitis seems to be affected differently by a probiotic intervention


Dr G. Jahreis, Department of Nutritional Physiology, Institute of Nutrition, Friedrich Schiller University, Dornburger Str. 24, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Background Probiotic bacteria are proposed to alleviate atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants. There are few indications about the effect of probiotics on AD in adults.

Objective The purpose of this study was to elucidate the influence of a probiotic drink containing a combination of the probiotics Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37, Lactobacillus acidophilus 74-2 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis DGCC 420 (B. lactis 420) in healthy volunteers and in patients with AD on clinical and immunological parameters and their detection in feces.

Methods A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study was conducted in 15 healthy adults and 15 patients with AD. The probiotic product or placebo was given over 8 weeks. A 2-week washout period was interconnected before the intervention was crossed. At the end of each period, blood and stool samples were collected. In patients, the severity of AD was evaluated using the Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD).

Results L. paracasei and B. lactis were recovered in high numbers in feces after supplementation, whereas L. acidophilus marginally increased. In patients, the SCORAD tended to decrease by 15.5% (P=0.081). Major lymphocyte subsets were not affected by the probiotic intervention. However, CD57+ increased significantly (P=0.034) in healthy subjects after probiotic intake and was not changed in patients, whereas CD4+CD54+ decreased significantly (P=0.031) in patients with AD and remained uninfluenced in healthy subjects. The expression of CD4+CD25+ T cells was similar in healthy subjects and AD patients. The phagocytic activity of monocytes and granulocytes was significantly increased in healthy subjects after probiotic intervention (P=0.014).

Conclusion L. paracasei Lpc-37 and B. lactis 420 are able to colonize the intestine transiently. This study reveals that the probiotics differently modulate peripheral immune parameters in healthy subjects and patients with AD.

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