Immunostimulatory Effect of Probiotics on Salivary IgA Levels in Children: A Quantitave Analysis

Mousumi Goswami, Sana Farooq
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, I.T.S Dental College, Hospital and Research Centre, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Background: Probiotics are living micro-organisms that confer health benefits to the host when administered in adequate amounts. They have an immunomodulatory effect, making the environment less conducive for cariogenic pathogens. Probiotics enhance the production of salivary IgA (SIgA) which is an indicator of mucosal immunity. It has widely been documented that higher the levels of SIgA, lower the risk of caries. Thus, this study aims to evaluate the SIgA levels after consumption of probiotics at different time intervals.

Methods: Forty two children aged four to six years were randomly divided into the study and control groups. They received milk with Lactobacillus sporogenes or plain milk respectively for one month. Unstimulated saliva samples were collected at baseline, one month and three months post intervention and evaluated using immuno-enzymatic colorimetric method for quantitative determination of SIgA levels.

Results: Our results showed that on intergroup comparison, mean concentration of SIgA among the study group increased while it decreased among the control subjects, from baseline to one month. This difference was found to be statistically significant. (p<0.05). There was no significant difference seen on intra-group comparison(p=0.212) or on intergroup comparison(p=0.792) for the other time intervals.

Conclusion: It was thus concluded that SIgA levels increased as long as the probiotic enriched milk was provided, however it did not have a lasting effect, once intervention was terminated. Thus, milk supplemented with probiotics can have an immuno-protective and immuno-stimulatory effect against caries, thereby reducing its risk.

Mousumi Goswami