Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM‐17938 for preventing cough in adults with mild allergic asthma: A double‐blind randomized placebo‐controlled cross‐over study Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Cough is a common troublesome symptom in asthma which is neuronally mediated. Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM-17938 (L. reuteri DSM-17938) is a probiotic shown to be effective in pre-clinical models at suppressing neuronal responses to capsaicin, a transient receptor potential vanilloid agonist (TRPV1). OBJECTIVE: Investigate the effects of DSM-17938 versus matched placebo on capsaicin-evoked coughs in mild allergic asthmatics. METHODS: We performed a 4-visit, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way cross-over study comparing full dose cough responses with inhaled capsaicin in mild allergic asthmatics after 1 month of treatment with DSM-17938 compared with matched placebo. Randomization and allocation to trial group were carried out by a central computer system. Histamine skin prick testing, airway hyper-responsiveness and inflammatory cells in induced sputum were measured at every visit. Blood was collected to extract PBMCs and stimulated with CD3/CD28 to ascertain the effects of DSM-17938 /placebo on T-cell cytokine responses. RESULTS: Seventeen subjects were recruited and 15 completed the study (8 females, mean age 27.3 years). There was no difference in the change in maximum capsaicin-evoked coughs (Emax) after treatment with L. reuteri DSM-17938 compared with placebo [mean difference 2.07 coughs (95% CI -2.77 to 6.91, p = .38) or relative changes in geometric mean ratios for the dose evoking at least half the Emax (ED50) [1.05 (95% CI 0.31-3.58, p = .94)], concentration evoking 2 coughs (C2) [0.63 (0.26-1.53), p = .28] and 5 coughs (C5) [0.79 (0.25-2.50), p = .67]. There was no effect on histamine skin prick wheal size, intensity of itch sensation, methacholine PC20, airway inflammation or T-cell responses after stimulation with CD3/CD28. There were no serious adverse events. One subject developed a mild upper respiratory tract infection and another mild transient nausea whilst on DSM-17938. CONCLUSION: In this small study in adults with mild allergic asthma, we found no evidence that L. reuteri DSM-17938 has any systemic effects on airway nerves, smooth muscle, sputum inflammatory cells, skin responses or T-cell responses after oral consumption. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT03603522.


  • Satia, Imran
  • Cusack, Ruth
  • Stevens, Catie
  • Schlatman, Abbey
  • Wattie, Jennifer
  • Mian, Firoz
  • Killian, Kieran
  • O’Byrne, Paul M
  • Bienenstock, John
  • Forsythe, Paul
  • Gauvreau, Gail

publication date

  • September 2021