Background: It has been suggested that human breast milk oligosaccharides play a role in the development of the immune system in infants, and may consequently inhibit the onset of allergy. A specific prebiotic mixture of short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (GOS/FOS) has been shown to reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis (AD) at 6 months of age in infants at risk for allergy. Aim of the study: This study was aimed to analyze the effect of GOS/FOS on the immune response in these infants. Methods: In a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study, infants received a hypoallergenic whey formula with either 8 g/l GOS/FOS in a 9 : 1 ratio (IMMUNOFORTIS™) or 8 g/l maltodextrine (placebo) for 6 months. At 3 months of age, children were vaccinated with Hexavac against a.o. diphteria, tetanus, polio (DTP). At 6 months of age, plasma samples were collected from 84 infants (verum group n = 41, placebo group n = 43). Levels of total immunoglobulins (Ig) and of cow's milk protein (CMP-) and DTP-specific Ig were measured. Results: GOS/FOS supplementation led to a significant reduction in the plasma level of total IgE, IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3, whereas no effect on IgG4 was observed. CMP-specific IgG1 was significantly decreased. DTP-specific Ig levels were not affected. Conclusions: This study shows that GOS/FOS supplementation induces a beneficial antibody profile. GOS/FOS reduces the total Ig response and modulates the immune response towards CMP, while leaving the response to vaccination intact. This suggests that oral GOS/FOS supplementation is a safe method to restrain the atopic march.

Allergy, Cow's milk, Immunoglobulin, Infant, Prebiotics, antibody, article, atopic dermatitis, blood sampling, child, clinical trial, controlled clinical trial, controlled study, diphtheria pertussis poliomyelitis tetanus Haemophilus influenzae type b hepatitis B vaccine, double blind procedure, fructose oligosaccharide, galactose oligosaccharide, galactose oligosaccharide plus fructose oligosaccharide, high risk population, human, immune response, immunofortis, immunoglobulin E, immunoglobulin G1, immunoglobulin G2, immunoglobulin G3, immunoglobulin G4, immunoglobulin blood level, infant, milk protein, placebo, prebiotic agent, preschool child, priority journal, randomized controlled trial, supplementation, unclassified drug, vaccination, whey,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Hoffen, E, Ruiter, B, Faber, J, M'Rabet, L, Knol, E.F, Stahl, B, … Garssen, J. (2009). A specific mixture of short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides induces a beneficial immunoglobulin profile in infants at high risk for allergy. Allergy, 64(3), 484–487. doi:10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01765.x