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Early-life gut microbiota and breast milk oligosaccharides in relation to childhood immune maturation and allergy

by Sjögren, Ylva Margareta, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Atopic allergy is the most common chronic disease among children in the developed world. This high prevalence could be associated with low microbial exposure. The early gut microbiota appears to be important for immune maturation. Immunomodulatory components in human milk might differ between mothers and could therefore explain the contradictory results seen regarding breastfeeding and allergy development. The aim of this thesis was to investigate whether early colonization with certain gut microbiota species influences childhood immune responses and allergy development up to age five. Also, as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) might stimulate the growth of certain gut microbiota species, the consumption of neutral colostrum HMOs was investigated for their role in allergy development up to 18 months.The concentrations of neutral colostrum HMOs varied considerably between women; however this variation could not be explained by their allergic status. Neither was the consumption of neutral colostrum HMOs related to allergy development in their children up to 18 months.Infants who harboured lactobacilli group I and Bifidobacterium adolescentis one week after birth developed allergic disease less frequently during their first five years than infants who did not harbour these bacteria at the same time. Also, colonization with several Bifidobacterium species was associated with higher levels of house dust endotoxin and larger family size.The early Bifidobacterium flora influenced levels of salivary secretory IgA at six and 12 months but not during later childhood. Moreover, the intensity of early Bacteroides fragilis colonization was inversely associated with spontaneous Toll-like receptor 4 mRNA expression in peripheral blood cells collected 12 months after birth.In conclusion, these results indicate that the early infant gut microbiota influences systemic and mucosal immune maturation during infancy, and that it might be altered in infants developing allergic disease.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Cell and molecular biology; Immunology; allergy; infant; gut microbiota; human milk oligosaccharides; Bifidobacterium; Lactobacillus; Bacteroides fragilis; Clostridium difficile; family size; secretory IgA; toll like receptor; Immunology; immunologi

ISBN:978-91-7155-854-1

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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