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Yale J Biol Med. 2016 Sep 30;89(3):299-308. eCollection 2016 Sep.

Gut Microbiome and Infant Health: Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis and Host Genetic Factors.

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School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA; Institute for Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.
School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA.
Digestive Disorders Unit, Biobehavioral Branch, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The development of the neonatal gut microbiome is influenced by multiple factors, such as delivery mode, feeding, medication use, hospital environment, early life stress, and genetics. The dysbiosis of gut microbiota persists during infancy, especially in high-risk preterm infants who experience lengthy stays in the Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Infant microbiome evolutionary trajectory is essentially parallel with the host (infant) neurodevelopmental process and growth. The role of the gut microbiome, the brain-gut signaling system, and its interaction with the host genetics have been shown to be related to both short and long term infant health and bio-behavioral development. The investigation of potential dysbiosis patterns in early childhood is still lacking and few studies have addressed this host-microbiome co-developmental process. Further research spanning a variety of fields of study is needed to focus on the mechanisms of brain-gut-microbiota signaling system and the dynamic host-microbial interaction in the regulation of health, stress and development in human newborns.


Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis; Early life; Gut Microbiome; Host-Microbial Genomics; Infant

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