Reduced occurrence of early atopic dermatitis because of immunoactive prebiotics among low-atopy-risk infants

Christoph Grüber, Margriet Van Stuijvenberg, Fabio Mosca, Guido Moro, Gaetano Chirico, Christian P. Braegger, Josef Riedler, Günther Boehm, Ulrich Wahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-797
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • atopic dermatitis
  • infant
  • Oligosaccharides
  • prebiotics
  • primary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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