Microbial and Immune Biomarkers in Infants at Risk for Allergies Fed an Intact Cows Milk Formula Containing Specific Non-Digestible Carbohydrates

Karen Knipping, Anna Orsi,


Background: Oligosaccharides may support postnatal immune development by influencing the constitution of gastrointestinal microbiota. This prospective, double-blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial investigated the effect of a specific prebiotic mixture of short chain galactooligosaccharides (scGOS) and long chain fructooligosaccharides (lcFOS) on microbiota and immune biomarkers during the first six months of life in high risk infants for allergies fed a formula based on intact cow’s milk protein.\r\n\r\nMethods: If formula feeding was started, the infant was randomly assigned to one of two cow’s milk formula groups (0.8 g/100 ml scGOS/lcFOS or maltodextrine as control). The faecal microbiota of the scGOS/lcFOS and control groups was analysed. In a subgroup blood was collected at the age of six months for serum biomarkers. A reference group consisted of 90 exclusively breast fed infants up to six months of age.\r\n\r\nResults: In both the prebiotic group and control group a total of 51 infants completed the study. The scGOS/lcFOS supplementation was associated with a significantly higher number of faecal bifidobacteria and lactobacilli counts compared to controls, accompanied by significantly lower pH values in the faeces. In the serum, the scGOS/lcFOS group showed a trend towards a decrease in total IgE levels as well as a trend towards a decrease in the percentage of children with elevated (>15 kU/l) IgE. There were no differences found in kappa Ig-fLC and lambda Ig-fLC between the two groups.\r\n\r\nConclusions: scGOS/lcFOS administration significantly influences the composition of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. There were some observations with respect to the immune parameters which need further investigation.\r\n

Relevant Publications in Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy