Clinical effects of kestose, a prebiotic oligosaccharide, on the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants


Yasuhiro Koga, Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara 259-1193, Japan.


Background Oligosaccharides may have beneficial properties of the prevention of atopic dermatitis (AD). Kestose, a fructo-oligosaccharide, stimulates the activity of bifidobacteria.

Objective To assess the clinical effect of kestose on the treatment of AD in infants.

Methods A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out using 15 and 14 infants with AD in the kestose group and placebo groups, respectively. One to 2 g kestose and maltose were administered to the subjects in the kestose and placebo groups, respectively, everyday for 12 weeks. Clinical evaluations of AD using Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) and the enumeration of bifidobacteria in the feces using real-time PCR were performed at Weeks 0, 6, and 12.

Results The medians of the SCORAD score were significantly lower in the kestose group than in the placebo group on both Week 6 (25.3 vs. 36.4; P=0.004) and Week 12 (19.5 vs. 37.5; P<0.001). No significant correlation was found between the improvement of the SCORAD score and the count of bifidobacteria.

Conclusion Kestose was found to exert a beneficial effect on the clinical symptoms in infants with AD. The mechanism how does kestose improve the symptoms of AD remains to be elucidated.