A mixture of three prebiotics does not affect vaccine specific antibody responses in healthy term infants in the first year of life.

J. Stam, M. van Stuijvenberg, J. Garssen, K. Knipping, P.J.J. Sauer

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BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown, that prebiotics can modulate the immune response in infants at risk for allergy, leading to a lower incidence of atopic dermatitis. Few studies have evaluated the effect of prebiotic carbohydrates alone on the vaccine-specific antibody response as a marker for the development of the immune system in healthy infants not at risk for allergy. AIM: This study evaluates the effect of adding a specific prebiotic mixture of short chain galacto-oligosaccharides (scGOS)/long chain fructo-oligosaccharides (lcFOS) ratio 9:1 and pectin-derived acidic oligosaccharides (pAOS) to formula feeding on the specific immunoglobulin responses to Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and tetanus immunization in healthy non-atopic infants during the first year of life. METHODS: This substudy has been embedded in a multinational multicenter RCT (n=1130 children) to evaluate the effect of study prebiotics on the incidence of fever episodes during the first year of life. The study prebiotics were administered throughout the first year of life. This is a substudy on the vaccine-specific immunoglobulin responses to Hib and tetanus immunizations. Only data of the Dutch children, 80 in the prebiotics group and 84 in the control group, were used for this substudy. They all followed the national vaccination schedule leading to a homogeneous group. Blood was sampled at 6 and 12 months of age. RESULTS: Hib immunizations: median values did not differ between groups at the age of 6 and 12 months. At the age of 12 months, 34 out of 37 (91.9%) infants in the prebiotics group and 31 out of 34 infants (91.2%) in the control group had Hib antibody levels >1.0 mug/ml. Tetanus immunizations: median values did not differ between groups at the age of 6 and 12 months and were above the cut-off value of 0.1 IU/ml in all infants in both the prebiotics and the control group. CONCLUSION: No effect of prebiotics supplementation on vaccination specific antibody levels was found in children up to the age of 12 months; the vaccine specific antibody levels in infants fed the study prebiotics or a control diet were similar during the first year of life. We hypothesize that this specific prebiotic mixture, which resembles the composition of oligosaccharides in human milk, mainly promotes Th1 and Treg dependent immune responses and induces a down regulation of IgE-mediated allergic responses, while the desired vaccine-specific serum antibody responses remain intact.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)7766-72
Number of pages7
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Farmacie/Biofarmaceutische wetenschappen (FARM)
  • Farmacie(FARM)
  • Biomedische technologie en medicijnen
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Overig medisch onderzoek

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