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Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 Mar;45(3):632-43. doi: 10.1111/cea.12487.

Infant gut microbiota and food sensitization: associations in the first year of life.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The gut microbiota is established during infancy and plays a fundamental role in shaping host immunity. Colonization patterns may influence the development of atopic disease, but existing evidence is limited and conflicting.

OBJECTIVE:

To explore associations of infant gut microbiota and food sensitization.

METHODS:

Food sensitization at 1 year was determined by skin prick testing in 166 infants from the population-based Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. Faecal samples were collected at 3 and 12 months, and microbiota was characterized by Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing.

RESULTS:

Twelve infants (7.2%) were sensitized to ≥ 1 common food allergen at 1 year. Enterobacteriaceae were overrepresented and Bacteroidaceae were underrepresented in the gut microbiota of food-sensitized infants at 3 months and 1 year, whereas lower microbiota richness was evident only at 3 months. Each quartile increase in richness at 3 months was associated with a 55% reduction in risk for food sensitization by 1 year (adjusted odds ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.23-0.87). Independently, each quartile increase in Enterobacteriaceae/Bacteroidaceae ratio was associated with a twofold increase in risk (2.02, 1.07-3.80). These associations were upheld in a sensitivity analysis among infants who were vaginally delivered, exclusively breastfed and unexposed to antibiotics. At 1 year, the Enterobacteriaceae/Bacteroidaceae ratio remained elevated among sensitized infants, who also tended to have decreased abundance of Ruminococcaceae.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Low gut microbiota richness and an elevated Enterobacteriaceae/Bacteroidaceae ratio in early infancy are associated with subsequent food sensitization, suggesting that early gut colonization may contribute to the development of atopic disease, including food allergy.

PMID:
25599982
DOI:
10.1111/cea.12487
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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