Background: Altered gut microbiota is implicated in cow's milk allergy (CMA) and differs markedly from healthy, breastfed infants. Infants who suffer from severe CMA often rely on cow's milk protein avoidance and, when breastfeeding is not possible, on specialised infant formulas such as amino-acid based formulas (AAF). Herein, we report the effects of an AAF including specific synbiotics on oral and gastrointestinal microbiota of infants with non-IgE mediated CMA with reference to healthy, breastfed infants. Methods: In this prospective, randomized, double-blind controlled study, infants with suspected non-IgE mediated CMA received test or control formula. Test formula was AAF with synbiotics (prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides and probiotic Bifidobacterium breve M-16V). Control formula was AAF without synbiotics. Healthy, breastfed infants were used as a separate reference group (HBR). Bacterial compositions of faecal and salivary samples were analysed by 16S rRNA-gene sequencing. Faecal analysis was complemented with the analysis of pH, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and lactic acids. Results: The trial included 35 test subjects, 36 controls, and 51 HBR. The 16S rRNA-gene sequencing revealed moderate effects of test formula on oral microbiota. In contrast, the gut microbiota was substantially affected across time comparing test with control. In both groups bacterial diversity increased over time but was characterised by a more gradual increment in test compared to control. Compositionally this reflected an enhancement of Bifidobacterium spp. and Veillonella sp. in the test group. In contrast, the control-fed infants showed increased abundance of adult-like species, mainly within the Lachnospiraceae family, as well as within the Ruminococcus and Alistipes genus. The effects on Bifidobacterium spp. and Lachnospiraceae spp. were previously confirmed through enumeration by fluorescent in situ hybridization and were shown for test to approximate the proportions observed in the HBR. Additionally, microbial activity was affected as evidenced by an increase of l-lactate, a decrease of valerate, and reduced concentrations of branched-chain SCFAs in test versus control. Conclusions: The AAF including specific synbiotics effectively modulates the gut microbiota and its metabolic activity in non-IgE mediated CMA infants bringing it close to a healthy breastfed profile. Trial registration Registered on 1 May 2013 with Netherlands Trial Register Number NTR3979.
- Cow's milk allergy
- Gut microbiota