Older siblings, pets and early life infections: impact on gut microbiota and allergy prevalence during the first three years of life

Martin Frederik Laursen, Gitte Zachariassen, Martin Iain Bahl, Anders Bergström, Arne Høst, Kim Fleischer Michaelsen, Tine Rask Licht

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

6261 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Early life infections and presence of older siblings or pets in the household are factors known to affect the risk of developing allergic diseases, and this effect is suggested to be mediated by interactions between microbes and the immune system. However, very limited research has been done on the effect of these factors on the developing gut microbiota in infants. Thus, we aimed to elucidate associations between older siblings, pets and early life infections, the microbial gut communities at 9 and 18 months of age and the prevalence of allergies in three year old children.

Methods: Bacterial DNA was extracted from a total of 228 fecal samples obtained from 114 infants at both 9 and 18 months of age, belonging to the SKOT cohort. High throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed and the bacterial community composition of each sample was determined. Information on prevalence of respiratory allergy, eczema and presence of older siblings, pets and early life infections, previously collected through interviews with parents, were compared to the obtained data on bacterial taxonomy.

Results: Early life infections were positively associated with the risk of developing respiratory allergy (p = 0.044), while having siblings tended to decrease the risk of developing eczema (p = 0.105) before the age of three years. Having siblings correlated positively with the relative abundance of several gut microbial genera at both ages. At 18 months of age, microbial alpha diversity (p = 0.045) and richness (p = 0.009) were significantly higher in individuals with siblings, whereas in children with registered early life infections, a lower alpha diversity (p = 0.067) and richness (p = 0.023) was found at 18 months of age. However, gut microbiota composition, diversity and richness in children with allergies did not differ substantially from that in children without symptoms.

Conclusions: Early life infections might precede childhood respiratory allergy and are associated with low microbial diversity/richness during late infancy. The presence of older siblings affects the gut microbiota composition, diversity and richness during late infancy and the risk of developing eczema during early childhood. However, gut microbiota in late infancy was not associated with eczema or respiratory allergy in early childhood. Further studies are warranted to assess whether the profound sibling effect on the gut microbiota has implication for development of allergies later in life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe Danish Microbiological Society Annual Congress 2014 - Eigtved's Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 10 Nov 2014 → …

Conference

ConferenceThe Danish Microbiological Society Annual Congress 2014
LocationEigtved's Pakhus
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period10/11/2014 → …

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Older siblings, pets and early life infections: impact on gut microbiota and allergy prevalence during the first three years of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this