Probiotics in the Treatment of Asthma and Allergy

  • Bengt Björkstén
  • Susan L. Prescott
Part of the Allergy Frontiers book series (ALLERGY, volume 6)


The prevalence of allergies, diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other “immunologically mediated diseases of affluence” has increased progressively, particularly over the last 50 years. Over this time there has been growing recognition of the contributing role of declining microbial burden (the “hygiene hypothesis”). There has also been intense interest in the health benefits of dietary supplements (probiotic and prebiotic) that promote favourable colonisation. These two distinct, but rapidly converging, areas of research have emphasised the need to understand, and ultimately to manipulate, our physiological interactions with commensal microbiota.

According to the “hygiene hypothesis”, an apparent decline in microbial exposure during early childhood is one of the most plausible causes of the escalating rates of allergic disease. Epidemiological support for this hypothesis has been progressively consolidated by a growing understanding of effects of microbial factors on immune development. While this story began with allergic disorders, autoimmune conditions (such as type I diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease) are now being increasingly included in these models. It is proposed that the underlying concepts of immune regulation by microbes are similar for several immunologi-cally mediated diseases, which have also been considered as “microbial deficiency syndromes” [1].


Atopic Dermatitis Allergic Disease Allergy Clin Immunol Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Germ Free Mouse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Lung FysiologyKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.School of Paediatrics and Child HealthUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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