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The developing airway and gut microbiota in early life is influenced by age of older siblings

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BACKGROUND: Growing up with siblings has been linked to numerous health outcomes and is also an important determinant for the developing microbiota. Nonetheless, research into the role of having siblings on the developing microbiota has mainly been incidental.

RESULTS: Here, we investigate the specific effects of having siblings on the developing airway and gut microbiota using a total of 4497 hypopharyngeal and fecal samples taken from 686 children in the COPSAC2010 cohort, starting at 1 week of age and continuing until 6 years of age. Sibship was evaluated longitudinally and used for stratification. Microbiota composition was assessed using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of the variable V4 region. We found siblings in the home to be one of the most important determinants of the developing microbiota in both the airway and gut, with significant differences in alpha diversity, beta diversity, and relative abundances of the most abundant taxa, with the specific associations being particularly apparent during the first year of life. The age gap to the closest older sibling was more important than the number of older siblings. The signature of having siblings in the gut microbiota at 1 year was associated with protection against asthma at 6 years of age, while no associations were found for allergy.

CONCLUSIONS: Having siblings is one of the most important factors influencing a child's developing microbiota, and the specific effects may explain previously established associations between siblings and asthma and infectious diseases. As such, siblings should be considered in all studies involving the developing microbiota, with emphasis on the age gap to the closest older sibling rather than the number of siblings. Video abstract.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer106
TidsskriftMicrobiome
Vol/bind10
Udgave nummer1
DOI
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
All funding received by COPSAC is listed on www.copsac.com . The Lundbeck Foundation (Grant no R16-A1694), The Ministry of Health (Grant no 903516), Danish Council for Strategic Research (Grant no 0603-00280B), and The Capital Region Research Foundation have provided core support to the COPSAC research center. The funding agencies did not have any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ID: 79997516