Can bacterial interference prevent infection?
Canadian Journal of Microbiology
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Microbial exposure may direct the immune system away from allergic-type responses, but until now probiotic interventions have had limited success in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. In this study, a novel probiotic mixture was specifically created based on preliminary in vitro investigations on pollen-induced immune responses. A mixture with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and a novel fecal Bifidobacterium adolescentis isolate was formulated into a yogurt and tested for its effects in 36 subjects with allergic rhinitis over 2 pollen seasons in a double-blind, placebocontrolled trial. The new formulation was well tolerated, but did not have significant effects on the quality of life scores, use of antihistamines, or eosinophil cationic protein concentration in nasal lavage. However, at the end of the grass pollen season, serum IL-10 and IL-12 levels were increased in the probiotic group compared to the controls. During the ragweed season, the serum TGF-β levels were significantly higher in the probiotic group than in the controls. In conclusion, the novel probiotic formulation had potentially desirable effects on the cytokine profile of patients with allergic rhinitis, but provided few clinical benefits. The study highlights the challenges in designing efficient immunomodulatory probiotic therapies based upon in vitro findings.