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Original Article


Fluctuation of Fecal Microbiota in Individuals With Japanese Cedar Pollinosis During the Pollen Season and Influence of Probiotic Intake


T Odamaki,1 J-Z Xiao,1 N Iwabuchi,1 M Sakamoto,2 N Takahashi,1 S Kondo,1 K Iwatsuki,1 S Kokubo,1 H Togashi,3 T Enomoto,4 Y Benno2

1 Food Research and Development Laboratory Morinaga Milk Industry Co, Ltd, Zama, Kanagawa, Japan
2 Microbe Division/Japan Collection of Microorganisms, RIKEN BioResource Center, Wako, Saitama, Japan
3 Togashi Clinic, Ebina, Kanagawa, Japan
4 Department of Otolaryngology, Japanese Red Cross Society Wakayama Medical Center, Wakayama, Japan

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2007; Vol. 17(2): 92-100



Background: We have previously reported the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that found the intake of yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain, Bifi dobacterium longum BB536, alleviates symptoms and affects blood parameters in individuals with Japanese cedar pollinosis (JCPsis) during the pollen season.

Objective: In the present study, fecal microbiota were investigated to examine whether any changes occur during the pollen season and whether any infl uence is exerted by probiotic intake.

Methods: Yogurt either with BB536 (BB536 yogurt) or without BB536 (placebo yogurt) was administered for 14 weeks at 2 100 g per day to 40 subjects (17 men, 23 women) with a clinical history of JCPsis. Fecal samples were obtained from 23 subjects (placebo group,
n = 13; BB536 group, n = 10) before and during the intervention (weeks 4, 9 and 13) and fecal microbiota were analyzed using terminalrestriction
fragment length polymorphism and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods.

Results: From the fl uctuation patterns of terminal-restriction fragments, the Bacteroides fragilis group and bifi dobacteria were among the species that changed most with pollen dispersion. Real-time PCR analyses indicated that the cell numbers of the B fragilis group increased significantly along with pollen dispersion in both BB536 and placebo groups. Cell numbers of bifi dobacteria were signifi cantly higher in the BB536 group compared with the placebo group (P < .05 at weeks 4 and 9). The ratio of cell numbers of the B fragilis group to bifidobacteria increased significantly during the pollen season in the placebo group (P < .01 at weeks 9 and 14), but not in the BB536 group. An in vitro
study using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from JCPsis subjects indicated that strains of the B fragilis group induced signifi cantly more helper T cell (TH) type2 cytokines (interleukin [IL]-6) but fewer TH1 cytokines (IL-12 and interferon) compared with those of bifi dobacteria.

Conclusions: These results suggest a relationship between fl uctuation in intestinal microbiota and pollinosis allergy. Furthermore, intake of BB536 yogurt appears to exert positive influences on the formation of anti-allergic microbiota.

Key words: Bifi dobacterium longum. Allergy. Japanese cedar pollinosis. Cytokine. Probiotic.