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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Bifidobacterium lactis probiotics in pregnancy increases cord blood interferon-γ and breast milk transforming growth factor-β and immunoglobin A detection

Authors


Correspondence:
Prof. Susan L. Prescott, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia, Princess Margaret Hospital, PO Box D184, Perth, WA 6001, Australia. E-mail: sprescott@meddent.uwa.edu.au

Summary

Background This study explored the effects of maternal probiotic supplementation on immune markers in cord blood (CB) and breast milk.

Methods CB plasma and breast milk samples were collected from a cohort of women who had received daily supplements of either 6 × 109 CFU/day Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 (n=34), 9 × 109 CFU/day Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (n=35) or a placebo (n=36) beginning 2–5 weeks before delivery and continuing for 6 months in lactating women. CB plasma and breast milk (collected at 3–7 days, 3 months and 6 months postpartum) were assayed for cytokines (IL-13, IFN-γ, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-10, TGF-β1) and sCD14. Breast milk samples were also assayed for total IgA.

Results Neonates of mothers who received a probiotic had higher CB IFN-γ levels (P=0.026), and a higher proportion had detectable blood IFN-γ levels, compared with the placebo group (P=0.034), although levels were undetectable in many infants. While this pattern was evident for both probiotics, when examined separately only the L. rhamnosus HN001 group showed statistically significant higher IFN-γ levels (P=0.030) compared with the placebo group. TGF-β1 levels were higher in early breast milk (week 1) from the probiotic groups (P=0.028). This was evident for the B. lactis HN019 group (P=0.041) with a parallel trend in the L. rhamnosus HN001 group (P=0.075). Similar patterns were seen for breast milk IgA, which was more readily detected in breast milk from both the B. lactis HN019 (P=0.008) and the L. rhamnosus HN001 group (P=0.011). Neonatal plasma sCD14 levels were lower in the B. lactis HN019 group compared with the placebo group (P=0.041).

Conclusion The findings suggest that supplementation with probiotics in pregnancy has the potential to influence fetal immune parameters as well as immunomodulatory factors in breast milk.

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