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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Low diversity of the gut microbiota in infants with atopic eczema

Thomas R Abrahamsson, Hedvig E Jakobsson, Anders F Andersson, Bengt Björkstén, Lars Engstrand, Maria C Jenmalm
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2012, 129 (2): 434-40, 440.e1-2
22153774

BACKGROUND: It is debated whether a low total diversity of the gut microbiota in early childhood is more important than an altered prevalence of particular bacterial species for the increasing incidence of allergic disease. The advent of powerful, cultivation-free molecular methods makes it possible to characterize the total microbiome down to the genus level in large cohorts.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess microbial diversity and characterize the dominant bacteria in stool during the first year of life in relation to atopic eczema development.

METHODS: Microbial diversity and composition were analyzed with barcoded 16S rDNA 454-pyrosequencing in stool samples at 1 week, 1 month, and 12 months of age in 20 infants with IgE-associated eczema and 20 infants without any allergic manifestation until 2 years of age (ClinicalTrials.gov ID NCT01285830).

RESULTS: Infants with IgE-associated eczema had a lower diversity of the total microbiota at 1 month (P = .004) and a lower diversity of the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes and the genus Bacteroides at 1 month (P = .02 and P = .01) and the phylum Proteobacteria at 12 months of age (P = .02). The microbiota was less uniform at 1 month than at 12 months of age, with a high interindividual variability. At 12 months, when the microbiota had stabilized, Proteobacteria, comprising gram-negative organisms, were more abundant in infants without allergic manifestation (Empirical Analysis of Digital Gene Expression in R [edgeR] test: P = .008, q = 0.02).

CONCLUSION: Low intestinal microbial diversity during the first month of life was associated with subsequent atopic eczema.

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