- The development of an infant's gut microbiome is associated with cesarean section, formula feeding, and antibiotic use
- A method called Significance Analysis of Microarrays helps quantify the changes in the gut bacteria of infants
- Formula-fed or cesarean-delivered infants have different trajectories of bacterial colonization in later infancy leading to future health complications in infants
Infant's developing gut microbiome can alter based on various interventions such as cesarean section, formula feeding, and the use of antibiotics, reveals a new study published in open-access journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.
In an infant's life, the first year plays a significant role in developing his or her gut microbiome. In the intestines, there are more than one thousand types of bacteria. These bacteria help infants in digesting their food and also help "train" the development of their immune system.
‘Cesarean section increases the use of antibiotic treatment or formula-feeding in newborns affecting the development of gut microbiota in later infancy.’
Infant's Gut Microbiome
An infant's environment is the major factor that determines the type of bacteria present. The type of birth and food, early use of antibiotics - all play a crucial role on the infant's growing gut microbiome.
However, scientists are continuing their work to understand these differences and its meaning in infant's future health.
Anita Kozyrskyj is a researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada, and the group leader of the study.
Kozyrskyj said that their goal was to determine the combined influence of cesarean delivery, antibiotic treatment, and formula-feeding can alter the development of gut microbiota in infants.
The research team found that vaginally-born and breastfed infants, when compared to formula-fed or cesarean-delivered infants, were found to have different trajectories of bacterial colonization in later infancy, which can lead to future health complications in infants.
Kozyrskyj and her colleagues used a method called Significance Analysis of Microarrays,
which helps quantify the changes in the gut bacteria of 166 infants in their first year of lives.
Bacteria Inhabits The Gut
In other research studies, scientists have already found that there are the different types of bacteria which inhibit the gut of the infant.
However, the work of Kozyrskyj's is the first-ever study that determined the rates of colonization for every type of bacteria along with the infant's age and also highlights the dominant bacteria as the gut microbiome evolves.
Kozyrskyj's group found that formula-fed or cesarean-delivered infants showed altered trajectories of bacterial colonization that were associated with food allergies and weight gain when compared to the standard progression of gut bacteria with infant age.
Future research and larger studies are required to understand the consequences of these changes entirely. However, many other studies have shown potential links between these bacteria and the future health of the child, especially in developing food allergies.
Kozyrskyj stated, "We hope this research will help clinicians and parents understand that cesarean section increases the chance of antibiotic treatment or formula-feeding of newborns, which can affect the development of gut microbiota in later infancy."
Human Gut Microbiota
Gut microbiota is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals. The gut is one place human microbiota inhabits.
The human gut microbiota has the largest numbers of bacteria and many species than in the other areas of the body, and the gut flora is established at one to two years after birth.
The composition of gut microbiota changes over time, as and when there are variations in the diet and also changes in overall health.
The presence of some types of bacteria can contribute to inflammatory disorders, obesity, and colon cancer.
- Farzana Yasmin et al. Cesarean Section, Formula Feeding, and Infant Antibiotic Exposure: Separate and Combined Impacts on Gut Microbial Changes in Later Infancy. Frontiers in Pediatrics (2017)DOI: 10.3389/fped.2017.00200