Plain language summary
Acute diarrhoea caused by pathogens may induce gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), bloody stool, or severe intra-abdominal infections that establish disease and increase the economic burden, especially among infantile and childhood populations. The aim of the study was to determine whether probiotics (Lactobacilluscasei) inhibited gastrointestinal infection and reduced the associated inﬂammatory response. The study is a prospective, randomized, case-controlled study which enrolled 81 children aged between 6 months and 6 years. The participants were divided into 2 groups (Lactobacilluscasei variety rhamnosus treatment and a no probiotic control). Study results indicate that probiotics can reduce the severity and duration of diarrhoea. Furthermore, probiotic colonisation improved bowel habits and reduced abdominal pain or colic and bloating. Authors conclude that the eﬃcacy of probiotic preparations for the treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea is related to individual bacteria strains. Thus, the population and modulation of intestinal gut/probiotic bacteria can be restored through the reduction of intestinal inﬂammatory reactions.
BACKGROUND Acute diarrhea is a major cause of childhood morbidity and an economic burden for families. The aim of this study is to explore the effect of probiotics on clinical symptoms, intestinal microbiota, and inflammatory markers during childhood diarrhea. METHODS Children ( = 81) aged six months to six years (mean age 2.31 years) hospitalized for acute diarrhea were randomized to receive probiotics ( variety ; = 42) or no probiotics ( = 39) orally twice daily for seven days. Feces samples were also collected to evaluate microbial content using a traditional agar plate and next-generation sequencing. Immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin, and calprotectin were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and compared in different groups. Other clinical symptoms or signs, including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloated abdomen, daily intake, appetite, and body weight were also assessed. RESULTS Data were collected from 81 individuals across three different time points. Total fecal IgA levels in fecal extracts of the probiotics group were higher than those in the control group, reaching statistical significance ( 0.05). Concentrations of fecal lactoferrin and calprotectin were significantly downregulated in patients with probiotic variety (Lc) consumption compared to those of the control ( 0.05). Probiotic Lc administration may be beneficial for gut-microbiota modulation, as shown by the data collected at one week after enrollment. Counts of and species were elevated in stool culture of the probiotic group. Appetite and oral intake, body-weight gain, abdominal pain, bloating, as well as bowel habits (diarrhea) were much better in children receiving probiotics compared with those in the control group. CONCLUSION Fecal IgA increased during acute diarrhea under Lc treatment; in contrast, fecal lactoferrin and calprotectin were downregulated during acute diarrhea under Lc treatment. Probiotic Lc may be a useful supplement for application in children during acute diarrhea to reduce clinical severity and intestinal inflammatory reaction.