This study presents results of the prevention of allergy study in high-risk infants for a new type of immunology markers for development of allergy, so called chemokines. (See other results of this study in summaries of papers by Abrahamsson 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, and by Böttcher 2008.)
Chemokines are a type of proteins produced by different immune cells, and their receptors are expressed on the surface of several cell types involved in allergic inflammation. Analyses of circulating chemokines in the blood offer new tools to investigate the Th1/Th2 imbalance in allergic disease in vivo.
In this study different pre- and postnatal environmental factors, including the supplementation of Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730, and their association to the expression of different chemokines were analysed in infants at birth (cord blood), and at 6, 12 and 24 months. The presence of Lactobacillus reuteri in infant stool in the first week of life was associated with low levels of the Th2-type chemokines CCL17 and CCL22 and high levels of the Th1-type chemokine CXCL11, at six months of age.
This result suggests a more rapid maturation of the immune system after birth, counteracting the Th2-deviation at birth. Of several chemokines analysed, only CCL22 (elevated levels) and CXCL11 (decreased levels) were associated with sensitisation to allergens.
Conclusion: The results imply that the previously shown effect of Lactobacillus reuteri on decreasing the risk of sensitisation in these infants may act through a mechanism involving the chemokines CCL22 and CXCL11.
Abrahamsson TR, Abelius M, Forsberg A, Björkstén B, Jenmalm MC. A Th1/Th2-associated chemokine imbalance during infancy in children developing eczema, wheeze and sensitization. Clin Exp Allergy 2011;41:1729-1739. (Substudy of the Abrahamsson 2007 trial.)