Infantile eczema, and in particular atopic dermatitis are, in many children, the first manifestation of their predisposition to an atopic disease. Among existing prevention strategies, supplementation with probiotics and prebiotics belong to the most promising beneficial interventions. Highlighting the most recent literature, we review here the most recent studies on probiotics and prebiotics and hypothesize on the most efficient intervention strategies.
Various probiotics and prebiotics, either alone or in combinations, have been administered, in general, during the late phase of pregnancy and up to 6 months of age. In general, a combination of probiotics and prebiotics given from pregnancy until early infancy has a higher potential for protecting the infant from developing early manifestations of eczema than short administration of one specific microorganism.
The effect of probiotics and prebiotic supplementations on early manifestations of atopy such as infantile eczema are conflicting. Nevertheless, prevention strategies should aim for an enhanced efficacy by addressing not only interventions on the microbiota, but by combining them to other interventions, for example, to those aiming at actively inducing antigen-specific tolerance.
University Hospitals of Geneva and Medical School of The University of Geneva, Department of Child and Adolescent, Geneva, Switzerland
Correspondence to Philippe A. Eigenmann, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Département de Pédiatrie. 6 rue Willy-Donzé, CH-1211 Genève 14, Geneva, Switzerland. Tel: +41 22 382 45 31; fax: +41 22 382 47 79; e-mail: Philippe.Eigenmann@hcuge.ch