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Research Project: Pediatric Clinical Nutrition

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Structure and function of the healthy pre-adolescent pediatric gut microbiome

Author
item HOLLISTER, EMILY - Baylor College Of Medicine
item RIEHLE, KEVIN - Baylor College Of Medicine
item LUNA, RUTH - Baylor College Of Medicine
item WEIDLER, ERICA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item RUBIO-GONZALES, MICHELLE - Baylor College Of Medicine
item MISTRETTA, TONI-ANN - Baylor College Of Medicine
item RAZA, SABEEN - Baylor College Of Medicine
item DODDAPANENI, HARSHA - Baylor College Of Medicine
item METCALF, GINGER - Baylor College Of Medicine
item MUZNY, DONNA - Baylor College Of Medicine
item GIBBS, RICHARD - Baylor College Of Medicine
item PETROSINO, JOSEPH - Baylor College Of Medicine
item SHULMAN, ROBERT - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item VERSALOVIC, JAMES - Baylor College Of Medicine

Submitted to: Microbiome
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2015
Publication Date: 8/26/2015
Citation: Hollister, E.B., Riehle, K., Luna, R.A., Weidler, E.M., Rubio-Gonzales, M., Mistretta, T., Raza, S., Doddapaneni, H.V., Metcalf, G.A., Muzny, D.M., Gibbs, R.A., Petrosino, J.F., Shulman, R.J., Versalovic, J. 2015. Structure and function of the healthy pre-adolescent pediatric gut microbiome. BMC Microbiome. 3:36.doi 10.1186/s40168-015-0101-x.

Interpretive Summary: We are understanding more and more how important the bacteria in our intestines are to health and disease. It had been assumed that by 3-4 years of age the types of bacteria found in the intestines were similar to those in adults. However, using advanced techniques, we discovered that even in healthy children 7-12 years of age the types of bacteria in the intestines was different than that found in healthy adults. The bacteria in the children are capable of producing different substances compared with those in adults. This information has implications for preventing adult diseases and how diet may be used to improve human health through changes in the gut bacteria.

Technical Abstract: The gut microbiome influences myriad host functions, including nutrient acquisition, immune modulation, brain development, and behavior. Although human gut microbiota are recognized to change as we age, information regarding the structure and function of the gut microbiome during childhood is limited. Using 16S rRNA gene and shotgun metagenomic sequencing, we characterized the structure, function, and variation of the healthy pediatric gut microbiome in a cohort of school-aged, pre-adolescent children (ages 7-12 years). We compared the healthy pediatric gut microbiome with that of healthy adults previously recruited from the same region (Houston, TX, USA). Although healthy children and adults harbored similar numbers of taxa and functional genes, their composition and functional potential differed significantly. Children were enriched in Bifidobacterium spp., Faecalibacterium spp., and members of the Lachnospiraceae, while adults harbored greater abundances of Bacteroides spp. From a functional perspective, significant differences were detected with respect to the relative abundances of genes involved in vitamin synthesis, amino acid degradation, oxidative phosphorylation, and triggering mucosal inflammation. Children's gut communities were enriched in functions which may support ongoing development, while adult communities were enriched in functions associated with inflammation, obesity, and increased risk of adiposity. Previous studies suggest that the human gut microbiome is relatively stable and adult-like after the first 1 to 3 years of life. Our results suggest that the healthy pediatric gut microbiome harbors compositional and functional qualities that differ from those of healthy adults and that the gut microbiome may undergo a more prolonged development than previously suspected.