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Childhood undernutrition, the gut microbiota, and microbiota-directed therapeutics.

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PubMed ID: 27339978

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Blanton LV, Barratt MJ, Charbonneau MR, Ahmed T, Gordon JI

Science. Jun 2016. doi: 10.1126/science.aad9359

COMMENT: The main concept in this publication is the concept of the need of a correct development of the gut microbiota. Chilhood undernutrition is associated with adverse outcomes (immune dysfunction and neurocognitive deficits) even years after of a maintained normal nutrition. These effects could be related with the impairment of the normal development of the gut microbiome.

Important elements involved in the correct microbiome maduration could be the sialic human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and immune system, specially IgA mediated responses.

Using machine learning (Random Forest) to analyze the 16S data from different groups of age it has been possible to define age-discriminatory bacterial taxa along the normal gut microbiota development.

There is discordance of around 40% in the malnutrition found in twins (in which one twin was healthy by anthropometry and the other was diagnosed with malnutrition). It has been suggested that early life environmental exposures play a key role in disease pathogenesis. I wonder if it could be associated to the order of the birth since the first baby could be a richer microbiome from the mother.

Studies in mice using Random Forests–based analysis of bacterial 16S from fecal microbiota have detected some “growth-discriminatory” taxa included a subset of the “age-discriminatory” taxa, suggesting that the growth-discriminatory could be mediating the host development.

Children with Malnutrition have microbiomes corresponding to more inmature microbiomes similar to microbiomes from younger children. The disruption of the coordinated development of microbiota and host can affect many biological systems. It is needed to develop sustainable strategies for sustained repair of microbiota immaturity. The possible interventions based on food or on microbial interventions require good biomarkers to do pre-clinical studies. 16S or other microbiome assays could provide biomarkers easier to obtain than biopse or other more problematic tests.

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Raquel Tobes