Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 15;83(2):148-159. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.06.021. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Infant Gut Microbiome Associated With Cognitive Development.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Curriculum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
3
Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Microbiome Core Facility, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
4
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
5
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
7
Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
8
Department of Psychology Lab of Neuropsychology and Lab of Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; State Key Lab of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
9
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Electronic address: rebecca_knickmeyer@med.unc.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies in rodents provide compelling evidence that microorganisms inhabiting the gut influence neurodevelopment. In particular, experimental manipulations that alter intestinal microbiota impact exploratory and communicative behaviors and cognitive performance. In humans, the first years of life are a dynamic time in gut colonization and brain development, but little is known about the relationship between these two processes.

METHODS:

We tested whether microbial composition at 1 year of age is associated with cognitive outcomes using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning and with global and regional brain volumes using structural magnetic resonance imaging at 1 and 2 years of age. Fecal samples were collected from 89 typically developing 1-year-olds. 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing was used for identification and relative quantification of bacterial taxa.

RESULTS:

Cluster analysis identified 3 groups of infants defined by their bacterial composition. Mullen scores at 2 years of age differed significantly between clusters. In addition, higher alpha diversity was associated with lower scores on the overall composite score, visual reception scale, and expressive language scale at 2 years of age. Exploratory analyses of neuroimaging data suggest the gut microbiome has minimal effects on regional brain volumes at 1 and 2 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first study to demonstrate associations between the gut microbiota and cognition in human infants. As such, it represents an essential first step in translating animal data into the clinic.

KEYWORDS:

Brain; Cognition; Gut; Infant; MRI; Microbiota

PMID:
28793975
PMCID:
PMC5724966
[Available on 2019-01-15]
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.06.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center