BACKGROUND: Probiotic supplementation significantly reduces the risk of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) and all cause mortality in preterm neonates. Independent quality assessment is important before introducing routine probiotic supplementation in this cohort.<br /><br />AIM: To assess product quality, and confirm that Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve) M-16V supplementation will increase fecal B. breve counts without adverse effects.<br /><br />METHODS AND PARTICIPANTS: Strain identity (16S rRNA gene sequencing), viability over 2 year shelf-life were confirmed, and microbial contamination of the product was ruled out. In a controlled trial preterm neonates (Gestation <33 weeks) ready to commence or on feeds for <12 hours were randomly allocated to either B. breve M-16V (3×109 cfu/day) or placebo (dextrin) supplementation until the corrected age 37 weeks. Stool samples were collected before (S1) and after 3 weeks of supplementation (S2) for studying fecal B. breve levels using quantitative PCR (Primary outcome). Secondary outcomes included total fecal bifidobacteria and NEC≥Stage II. Categorical and continuous outcomes were analysed using Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests, and McNemar and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests for paired comparisons.<br /><br />RESULTS: A total of 159 neonates (Probiotic: 79, Placebo: 80) were enrolled. Maternal and neonatal demographic characteristics were comparable between the groups. The proportion of neonates with detectable B. breve increased significantly post intervention: Placebo: [S1:2/66 (3%), S2: 25/66 (38%), p<0.001] Probiotic: [S1: 29/74 (40%), S2: 67/74 (91%), p<0.001]. Median S1 B. breve counts in both groups were below detection (<4.7 log cells x g(-1)), increasing significantly in S2 for the probiotic group (log 8.6) while remaining <4.7 log in the control group (p<0.001). There were no adverse effects including probiotic sepsis and no deaths. NEC≥Stage II occurred in only 1 neonate (placebo group).<br /><br />CONCLUSION: B. breve M-16V is a suitable probiotic strain for routine use in preterm neonates.<br /><br />TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN 12609000374268.
Patole, S., Keil, A. D., Chang, A., Nathan, E., Doherty, D., Simmer, K., … Conway, P. (2014). Effect of Bifidobacterium breve M-16V supplementation on fecal bifidobacteria in preterm neonates - A randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0089511