October 2011, VOLUME128 /ISSUE Supplement 3

Partial Protein-Hydrolyzed Infant Formula Decreased Food Sensitization but Not Allergic Diseases in a Prospective Birth Cohort Study

HC Kuo, CA Liu, CY Ou. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2011;154(4):310317
  1. Joann H. Lin, MD
  1. McKinney, TX


To determine whether feeding a partially protein-hydrolyzed formula in the first 6 months of life would decrease the incidence of future allergic diseases.


Taiwanese newborns who had at least 1 first-degree family member with a history of atopy and who were not breastfeeding participated.


A total of 679 participants were exclusively fed with partially hydrolyzed whey formula (HF) (n = 345) or cow's milk infant formula (CM) (n = 334) for at least 6 months via an open-label protocol. They were prospectively assessed at 6, 18, and 36 months of age to determine allergic sensitization (immunoglobulin E [IgE] > 0.7 kU/L) and clinical presence of eczema, food allergy, asthma, or allergic rhinitis.


At 36 months, cow's milk protein sensitization in the HF group was significantly lower than that in the CM group (12.7 vs 23.4%; P = .048). There was no difference with sensitization to egg or peanut between the 2 groups. Aeroallergen sensitization and serum total IgE levels were not significantly different. Occurrence of allergic disease was significantly correlated with aeroallergen sensitization but not to food-allergen sensitization, parental atopy, or feeding types.


The authors concluded that although HF feeding during the first 6 months of life helped to lower cow's milk protein sensitization, it alone is not enough to decrease the development of allergic disease.


Can controlling a susceptible infant's diet early in life help to lessen the development of atopic symptoms in later years? These findings suggest that exclusively feeding this HF for the first 6 months of life does not. Other comparative studies have found more favorable outcomes in those infants who were fed extensively hydrolyzed formula. However, more large-scale, controlled studies that follow newborns through childhood are needed to better define the advantages.