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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Microbiome and Metabolism Research » Research » Research Project #445913

Research Project: Early Life Factors and Microbiota Impact on Healthy Development

Location: Microbiome and Metabolism Research

Project Number: 6026-10700-001-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2024
End Date: Mar 31, 2026

1. Evaluate the role of diet and/or physical activity on gut microbiota and its impact on health during different stages of infant and child development. 2. Investigate the impact of maternal dietary components and early life stress on the gut microbiota and its impact on maternal-child health. 3. Elucidate the role of gut microbiota and human milk components on offspring health.

Early life factors (i.e., maternal diet, physical activity, stress, and neonatal diet) play a role in gut microbiota function and lifelong health outcomes. However, the precise mechanisms driving the health outcomes are unknown. The project plan will investigate the impact of the various early life factors on health leveraging clinical studies and animal and in vitro cell culture models. Objective 1 will investigate the impact of maternal physical activity on mitigating obesity-associated effects on the maternal immune system, microbiota, metabolism, placenta, and infant health. In addition, the impact of deficiency in micronutrients and fruit and vegetable intake by children on their gut microbiota, immune system, and brain will be investigated. Objective 2 will investigate maternal diet quality and impact of early life stress on the placenta, fetus, and offspring health. Objective 3 will examine the role of postnatal diet on gut microbiota, immune system, and brain function. The long-term goal is to develop prevention strategies for optimal child health and development. Results obtained from this project plan will inform dietary and physical activity guidelines for pregnancy, early life, and childhood to adolescence. To achieve these objectives, extensively detailed research plan has been developed, reviewed and approved that encompasses the specific research described below. Research is to be accomplished over a multi-year period as resources are available and as readiness for research and management capabilities develop. These plans address the following research areas and other research studies mutually agreed upon and approved by the Office of Scientific Quality Review.