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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Stability and resilience of the intestinal microbiota in children in daycare - a 12 month cohort study

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BACKGROUND: We performed a 12-month cohort study of the stability and resilience of the intestinal microbiota of healthy children in daycare in Denmark in relation to diarrheal events and exposure to known risk factors for gastrointestinal health such as travelling and antibiotic use. In addition, we analyzed how gut microbiota recover from such exposures.

RESULTS: We monitored 32 children in daycare aged 1-6 years. Fecal samples were submitted every second month during a one-year observational period. Information regarding exposures and diarrheal episodes was obtained through questionnaires. Bacterial communities were identified using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The core microbiota (mean abundance > 95%) dominated the intestinal microbiota, and none of the tested exposures (diarrheal events, travel, antibiotic use) were associated with decreases in the relative abundance of the core microbiota. Samples exhibited lower intra-individual variation than inter-individual variation. Half of all the variation between samples was explained by which child a sample originated from. Age explained 7.6-9.6% of the variation, while traveling, diarrheal events, and antibiotic use explained minor parts of the beta diversity. We found an age-dependent increase of alpha diversity in children aged 1-3 years, and while diarrheal events caused a decrease in alpha diversity, a recovery time of 40-45 days was observed. Among children having had a diarrheal event, we observed a 10x higher relative abundance of Prevotella. After travelling, a higher abundance of two Bacteroides species and 40% less Lachnospiraceae were seen. Antibiotic use did not correlate with changes in the abundance of any bacteria.

CONCLUSION: We present data showing that Danish children in daycare have stable intestinal microbiota, resilient to the exposures investigated. An early age-dependent increase in the diversity was demonstrated. Diarrheal episodes decreased alpha diversity with an estimated recovery time of 40-45 days.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Microbiology
Volume18
Issue number223
ISSN1471-2180
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2018

ID: 55904103