Normal gastrointestinal flora is determined very early in life, usually during birth. Only transient disruption occurs with antibiotic administration, infection, etc. and flora ultimately returns to its original state. Probiotic organisms, usually lactobacilli, are occasionally administered to prevent diarrheal disorders such as traveler's diarrhea or antibiotic-associated diarrhea. One of the most studied and consequently most efficacious such organisms is Lactobacillus casei sp. rhamnosus GG (LGG). Placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated its efficacy in traveler's diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and recurrent Clostridium difficile. Recently, studies from Finland have suggested that administration of this bacterium may ameliorate the symptoms of cow's milk protein allergy. However, the organism must be taken continuously to maintain colonization. This trial was conducted to determine if an infant could be colonized with LGG by administering it to the mother prior to delivery. An expectant mother with a previous child with a history of milk allergy was given Lactobacillus GG continuously for one month prior to delivery. A normal female infant was subsequently delivered. The infant was breastfed but never received Lactobacillus GG orally. At one month of age, stools were cultured and LGG was identified, 3.72 log10 colony forming units per gram of stool, by colony morphology and enzymatic analysis. The infant experienced no untoward effects and no evidence of milk allergy. Maternal administration of the probiotic, Lactobacillus GG, may result in long term colonization of the infant with the probiotic organism obviating the necessity for continuous administration. Further studies will be required to determine if the beneficial effects of the probiotic will result from this form of administration.
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Vanderhoof, J., Iwen, P., Hinrichs, S. et al. Colonization of an Infant with the Probiotic, Lactobacillus GG, by Maternal Transmission. Pediatr Res 45, 118 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-199904020-00702
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