Potential Role of Gut Microbial Metabolites in Allergy Prevention in Children
Sunday, March 6, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Caroline Roduit, Remo Frei, Ruth Ferstl, Susanne Loeliger, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Erika Von Mutius, MD MSc, Juha Pekkanen, MD, Jean-Charles Dalphin, Josef Riedler, Roger Lauener, MD, Liam O'Mahony, PhD

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are metabolites produced by microbes in fermented foods or by microbes in the gut following fermentation of fibers. SCFAs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in animal models. Our objective was to investigate the potential role of SCFAs in the prevention of allergic diseases among children and allergic airway-inflammation in mice.


Measurement of SCFAs in fecal water were performed among a subset of 1 year old children (n=301) from a European birth cohort. Data on environmental factors and allergy were collected by questionnaires. We used ovalbumin (OVA) or house dust mite (HDM) sensitised mice to model allergic airway-inflammation.


In the birth cohort study, we observed a positive association between yogurt consumption in the first year of life and the fecal levels of butyrate. The children with the highest fecal butyrate levels had a significantly reduced risk of becoming sensitized to inhalant allergens, with a similar directional trend for asthma, atopic dermatitis and sensitization to food allergens. Oral administration of SCFAs to mice significantly reduced the severity of allergic airway-inflammation, both in the OVA and HDM models. All SCFAs tested reduced the total number of cells and eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavages as well as reduced airway hyperresponsiveness. The single most effective SCFA was butyrate and oral administration of butyrate further reduced levels of Th2 cytokines in lung cells.


SCFAs, especially butyrate, protect against allergic airway inflammation and strategies designed to increase SCFA levels in children should be considered, both as a preventive and a therapeutic option.