Background: Although Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is a major bacterium in the intestine of adults, which is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, the development in infants or the response to prebiotics remains unclear.Methods:The counts of F. prausnitzii in the feces were examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fecal samples were obtained from 65 atopic dermatitis (AD) infants who participated in a randomized controlled clinical trial to investigate the therapeutic effect of kestose, the smallest fructooligosaccharide.Results:Although the F. prausnitzii count was undetectable level in most 0- to 1-y-old infants, the count reached a level comparable to that in adults in 2- to 5-y-old infants. The bacterial number increased about 10-fold by oral administration of kestose every day for 12 wk in the younger infants, but not so much in the older infants. This bacterial increase was significantly correlated with an improvement in the AD symptoms in the older infants.Conclusion:The F. prausnitzii population in the intestine reaches a level comparable to that in adult at approximately 2 y of age. Kestose efficiently stimulates the growth of this bacterium in the intestine, which might lead to an improvement in AD symptoms in infants.
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