BACKGROUND: Most infants developing atopic dermatitis have a low risk for atopy. Primary prevention of atopic dermatitis is difficult.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of supplementation of an infant and follow-on formula with prebiotic and immunoactive oligosaccharides on the occurrence of atopic dermatitis in the first year of life.
METHODS: Healthy term infants from 5 European countries with low atopy risk were recruited before the age of 8 weeks, either having started with formula feeding or being on full breast-feeding (breast-feeding group). Formula-fed infants were randomized to feeding with a regular formula containing a specific mixture of neutral oligosaccharides and pectin-derived acidic oligosaccharides (prebiotic formula group) or regular formula without oligosaccharides (control formula group).
RESULTS: A total of 414 infants were randomized to the prebiotic group and 416 infants to the control group. A total of 300 infants were followed in the breast-feeding group. Up to the first birthday, atopic dermatitis occurred in significantly fewer infants from the prebiotic group (5.7%) than from the control group (9.7%; P = .04). The cumulative incidence of atopic dermatitis in the prebiotic group was in the low range of the breast-feeding group (7.3%). In a Cox regression model, the rate of atopic dermatitis was significantly lower by 44% in the prebiotic group versus the control group (P = .04). The number needed to prevent 1 case of atopic dermatitis by supplementation of prebiotics was 25 infants.
CONCLUSION: Formula supplementation with a specific mixture of oligosaccharides was effective as primary prevention of atopic dermatitis in low atopy risk infants.
Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.