ESPE Abstracts (2018) 89 P-P1-172

Early Gut Microbiota and childhood Growth

Kasper Scheia, Saideh Salamatib, Petur Benedikt Juliussonc, Torbjørn Øiena, Knut Rudid & Rønnaug Astri Ødegårda


aNTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; bObeCe – Regional Centre for Obesity Research and Innovation, Trondheim, Norway; cUniversity of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; dNMBU – Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Æs, Norway


Introduction: Physical growth according to genetic potential is a hallmark of childhood health [1]. Childhood growth is complex and the physiological processes involved in promoting healthy growth are not fully understood, including the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota matures from birth towards adulthood, and this process might be affected by several factors, including mode of delivery, food intake and antibiotic treatment. The bacterial gut microbiota is observed to be more immature in stunted and malnourished children [2], and furthermore, rapidly matured bacterial gut microbiota at 6 months is related to greater obesity risk at 18 months of age [3]. As for the gut mycobiota (fungal microbiota), the addition of dry yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Baker’s yeast) into livestock feeds increases the feed intake and daily weight gain of young ruminants. This finding indicates that the gut mycobiota could affect human childhood growth, too. In this prospective cohort, we are studying whether the gut microbiota maturation the first two years relates to growth velocity up to 8 years of age.

Method: In a prospective cohort, we followed 298 healthy offspring from birth until eight years of age and collected the anthropometric data (height and weight) in this period. We collected offspring stool samples at 10 days, 3 months, 1 year and 2 years and quantified the fungal and bacterial abundances of all the samples (qPCR) and identified the bacterial and fungal species by Illumina sequencing. We have used statistical mixed model analyses that account for repeated anthropometric data.

Results: Preliminarily, we found that increased fungal DNA concentration at two years was associated to increased height growth in childhood (β=0.12 (P=0.038)).

Discussion: In this work in progress, we will explore whether bacterial and fungal abundances and species of the early microbiota are associated to childhood growth. If childhood growth velocity is affected by the early gut microbiota, this could provide new insights into healthy and deviant childhood growth and childhood health, which could open for novel therapy.

References: 1. Kliegman RL. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Growth, development and behavior Elsevier, 2016.

2. Subramanian S, Huq S, Yatsunenko T, Haque R, Mahfuz M, Alam MA, et al. Persistent gut microbiota immaturity in malnourished Bangladeshi children. Nature 2014;510:417-21.

3. Dogra S, Sakwinska O, Soh SE, Ngom-Bru C, Bruck WM, Berger B, et al. Dynamics of infant gut microbiota are influenced by delivery mode and gestational duration and are associated with subsequent adiposity. mBio 2015;6.

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