Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 enhances intestinal antibody response in formula-fed infants: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial

Hannah D. Holscher, Laura A. Czerkies, Pamela Cekola, Richard Litov, Marshall Benbow, Sheryl Santema, Dominik D. Alexander, Vanessa Perez, Shumei Sun, José M. Saavedra, Kelly A. Tappenden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Addition of probiotics to infant formula may positively affect immune function in nonexclusively breastfed infants. This study aimed to investigate the effect of infant starter formula containing the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis (Bb12) on intestinal immunity and inflammation. Methods: Sixweek-old healthy, full-term infants (n = 172) were enrolled in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial with 2 groups studied in parallel to a breastfed comparison group. Formula-fed (FF) infants were randomized to partially hydrolyzed whey formula (CON) or the same formula containing 106 colonyforming units (CFU) Bb12/g (PRO) for 6 weeks. Fecal secretory IgA (sIgA), calprotectin, lactate, and stool pH were assessed at baseline, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks. Anti-poliovirus-specific IgA and anti-rotavirusspecific IgA were assessed at 2 and 6 weeks. Results: Among vaginally delivered FF infants, PRO consumption increased (P < .05) fecal sIgA compared to CON. Anti-poliovirus-specific IgA concentration increased (P < .05) in all infants consuming PRO, whereas antirotavirus-specific IgA tended to increase (P = .056) with PRO consumption in cesarean-delivered infants. Anthropometrics and tolerance did not differ significantly between FF infants. Conclusions: Infants consuming formula with Bb12 produced feces with detectable presence of Bb12 and augmented sIgA concentration. Furthermore, cesarean-delivered infants consuming Bb12 had heightened immune response, as evidenced by increased anti-rotavirus- and anti-poliovirus-specific IgA following immunization. These results demonstrate that negative immune-related effects of not breastfeeding and cesarean delivery can be mitigated by including Bb12 in infant formula, thereby providing infants a safe, dietary, immune-modulating bacterial introduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106S-117S
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number1 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Infant formula
  • Pediatrics
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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