1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
ARS is interested in determining the impact of health-promoting components in foods including those containing probiotic bacteria. Experimental data generated in our pig model showed that Bifidobacterium lactis (Bb12) can modulate immune function and selectively affect local responses to allergic proteins. The hypothesis is that probiotics can prevent the incidence and severity of allergy in children with high risk of developing atopic diseases. Collaborative studies in children with allergic disease in Baltimore, MD showed that Bifidobacterium spp were reduced when compared to controls. We propose to study a larger population of subjects with atopy and from different environmental conditions (socioeconomic status, age, diet, and ethnic background) to confirm the hypothesis that Bifidobacterium spp (B. animalis, B. infantis, B. cantelatum, B. breve, and B. longum) are needed to maintain intestinal homeostasis and reduce the severity of clinical disease. The project plan has one objective that directly relates to this agreement:. 1)To elucidate the mechanisms used by probiotic bacteria to improve respiratory and intestinal mucosal responses to allergens, and correlate intestinal microflora composition of pigs and humans with biomarkers of allergic and intestinal disease. The COOPERATOR is interested in the identification of risk factors for the development of asthma and atopy in children in a tropical region (Cartagena-Colombia). The ultimate goal of both ARS and the COOPERATOR is to develop recommendations for feeding selected probiotics to promote a healthy microflora in the intestine.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
ARS will acquire processed clinical samples from the COOPERATOR (nucleic acids from blood and fecal samples). This information will be used by both ARS and the COOPERATOR to jointly develop new research studies to study intestinal microbiota homeostasis and improved immune response.
The fecal analysis that included detection of Bifidobacterium species was expanded to detect potential pathogens including Enterocytozoon bienusi, Blastocystis, and Giardia species associated with changing patterns of intestinal bacteria. Additional markers of host immune and inflammatory markers have been measured and the data is under review. Activities are monitored by the ARS scientists involved through email and conference calls with scientists at the University of Cartagena.