A novel approach to the study of the intestinal microbial ecosystem and its putative role in obesity development

  • Licht, Tine Rask (Project Manager)
  • Michaelsen, Kim Fleicher (Project Participant)
  • Bro, Rasmus (Project Participant)
  • Skov, Thomas Hjort (Project Participant)

Project Details


Causal relationships between the large number of bacterial species present in the human gut contains potentially important information on the regulation of intestinal function. Although the broad taxonomic groups of bacteria and their physiological functions are common to all people, there is tremendous individual variation in the bacterial composition, also known as the microbiota.
As the composition of the microbiota is formed in the early years of life, it is highly relevant to analyze correlations of microbiota, diet and trends of overweight in infants, in particular, since there is a strong correlation between overweight/obesity in infants/children and associated correlated serious Western lifestyle diseases in adults. Relevant examples are Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Due to technical restrictions, it has not previously been possible to effectively analyze internal bacterial patterns and relationships for a large number of samples. To this purpose, we have developed a fast, cheap and reliable "gut-low-density array" (GULDA), which utilize quantitative PCR (qPCR) to simultaneously quantify approximately 50 different selected bacterial species in a given sample of fecal DNA.
The aim of this project is to use GULDA to analyze a large number of stool samples collected at a recent cohort study at KU-LIFE of very young (0-3 years) Danish children (SKOT cohort = Småbørns KOst og Trivsel). Hopefully, this should elucidate important internal causal relationships in the microbiota and correlations between microbiota, diet and biomarkers for risk of obesity development in infants.
Project financing:
The project is fully financed by a personal post.doc grant to Anders Bergström from The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation/Technology and Production. The grant awarded was 2.181.600 DKR.
AcronymThe intestinal microbial ecosystem
Effective start/end date01/01/201130/06/2013