Intestinal microbiota and vaccine efficacy in children from resource poor settings - potential impact for the usefulness of probiotics?

Beneficial Microbes
N HajelaN K Ganguly


Developing countries continue to contribute significantly to the global burden of childhood mortality due to infectious diseases. Infections leading to diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia and meningitis account for millions of deaths annually. Most of these diseases are preventable by vaccination and therefore global vaccination rates have risen substantially with clear benefits. But paradoxically, the vaccines have demonstrated lower immunogenicity in developing countries as compared to their industrialised counterparts. Malnutrition in resource poor settings along with repeated polymicrobial infections at early age are some of the reasons for the differences in vaccine efficacy in different settings. Recent studies indicate that the gastrointestinal microbiota possibly influences maturation of immune system as well as vaccine efficacy. In this review we discuss evidences from in vitro, animal and human studies showing that probiotics can positively modulate gut microbiota composition and exert immunomodulatory effects on the host. We also discuss how they should be evaluated for their ability to improve vaccine performance especially in low resource settings.


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