Independent of Birth Mode or Gestational Age, Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants Fed Their Mothers' Milk Rapidly Develop Personalized Microbiotas Low in Bifidobacterium.
Butcher J, Unger S, Li J, Bando N, Romain G, Francis J, Mottawea W, Mack D, Stintzi A, O'Connor DL
J Nutr. 03 2018. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxx071
COMMENT: The goal of this work was to characterize the development of the gut microbiota in exclusively mother's milk-fed Very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants and to describe their taxonomic profile to define a reference VLBW infant microbiota profile derived from mother's milk.
For that, a prospective longitudinal cohort study was done collecting weekly stool samples from exclusively mother's milk-fed VLBW infants admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital. In total, 31 stools from 54 infants were analyzed using V6-16S sequencing.
These were the results of the taxonomic profiling analysis:
Bifidobacterium relative abundances were consistently low in all microbiotas at all time points (<0.5% in 97% of samples). VLBW infant microbiotas did not cluster by birth mode, gestational age, or weeks after birth and instead clustered as a function of patient identity.
The benefits from mother's milk feeding are likely modulated through microbes or pathways that are not dependent on Bifidobacterium because these microbes are present at low levels in VLBW infants.
ISRCTN ID for this trial: ISRCTN35317141.