Effects of Lactobacillus GG treatment during pregnancy on the development of fetal antigen-specific immune responses
Article first published online: 24 SEP 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Volume 38, Issue 12, pages 1882–1890, December 2008
How to Cite
Boyle, R. J., Mah, L.-J., Chen, A., Kivivuori, S., Robins-Browne, R. M. and Tang, M. L.-K. (2008), Effects of Lactobacillus GG treatment during pregnancy on the development of fetal antigen-specific immune responses. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 38: 1882–1890. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03100.x
- Issue published online: 19 NOV 2008
- Article first published online: 24 SEP 2008
- Submitted 10 June 2008; revised 18 July 2008; accepted 29 July 2008
- immune regulation;
- T cell proliferation
Background Several clinical trials suggest that probiotics may have a role in the prevention of eczema. The optimal timing and mechanisms underlying this intervention are not clear. In particular it is not known whether such treatment works during pregnancy or whether postnatal exposure is important.
Objective We investigated whether the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG (LGG) influences fetal immune responses when administered to pregnant women, as a possible mechanism for its protective effects against the development of eczema.
Methods Peripheral blood mononuclear cell from 11 adults treated with LGG, and cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) from 73 women participating in a randomized controlled trial of LGG treatment were cultured with heat-killed LGG, ovalbumin (OVA) or without stimulus. Cells were analysed by flow cytometry and real-time PCR for markers of dendritic cell (DC) phenotype, T cell proliferation and regulation. Cytokine secretion was analysed in culture supernatants by multiplex cytokine assay.
Results LGG treatment of adults led to systemic immune responses suggestive of antigen-specific tolerance including reduced CD4+ T cell proliferation to heat-killed LGG (30% reduction; P=0.03). LGG treatment of pregnant women did not influence CD4+ T cell proliferation, forkhead box P3 expression, DC phenotype or cytokine secretion in CBMCs cultured with heat-killed LGG or OVA.
Conclusion LGG treatment of pregnant women fails to influence fetal antigen-specific immune responses. This suggests that modulation of fetal immune responses may not be a major mechanism by which probiotics such as LGG prevent eczema.