Early LGG supplementation ineffective in eczema, asthma prevention
Early Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) supplementation does not appear to be effective in the prevention of eczema or asthma development at 2 years of age in high-risk infants, according to a study.
The study randomized 184 infants to receive a daily capsule containing 10 billion colony-forming units of LGG plus 225 mg of inulin (probiotic; n=92; mean gestational age 39 weeks; 48 percent male) or a capsule containing 325 mg of inulin alone (control; n=92; mean gestational age 38.9 weeks; 52 percent male) for the first 6 months of life.
Survival analysis was used to estimate disease incidences in the presence or absence of LGG, as well as the efficacy of the probiotic in delaying or preventing such diseases.
Infants were accrued over a 6-year period, yielding a median follow-up duration of 4.6 years and with 95 percent of infants followed for at least 2 years. Resulting data revealed that at 2 years of age, the estimated cumulative incidence of eczema was 30.9 percent (95 percent CI, 21.4 to 40.4) in the control group vs 28.7 percent (19.4 to 38.0) in the LGG group. The hazard ratio for eczema was 0.95 (0.59 to 1.53; p=0.83).
At 5 years of age, the cumulative incidence of asthma was 17.4 percent (7.6 to 27.1) in the control group vs 9.7 percent (2.7 to 16.6) in LGG, with a hazard ratio of 0.88 (0.41 to 1.87; p=0.25).
Environmental factors during early infancy can influence the immune system development and subsequent risk for allergic disease, with the hygiene hypothesis suggesting that the absence of infectious exposure at a critical point in such development results in a greater risk of later development of atopic disease or asthma. Early infant supplementation with specific probiotic strains is believed to be a potential mechanism to exploit the hygiene hypothesis and influence the risk of allergic disease in early life. [Sci Transl Med 2015;7:307ra152]
However, the present data do not support the use of LGG probiotic supplementation during the first 6 months of life for the prevention of eczema or asthma in children at high risk of these medical conditions, researchers said.