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Microbial colonisation of gut at early age influences adult microbial diversity and natural immune responses

Posted 9 years ago by Soraya

Recent population studies have stated that excessive hygiene during childhood is a significant risk factor for development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  Authors of this study hence looked at the probiotic & pathogenic bacteria of genetically related pigs, housing them in either indoor or outdoor environments or in experimental isolators.  Major differences were found in the microbiota of pigs even as adults; differences attributed to their varying early-life environments.  The animals kept in natural outdoor environments showed dominance of Firmicutes, in particular Lactobacillus, whereas animals in the hygienic indoor environments had reduced levels of Lactobacillus as well as higher numbers of potentially pathogenic phylotypes.  Authors concluded that early-life environment significantly affects microbial composition of the adult gut as well as mucosual innate immune function.  Microbiota with higher levels of Lactobacilli may function to maintain mucosal immune homeostasis and limit pathogen colonisation.

Reference: 'Environmentally acquired bacteria influence microbial diversity and natural innate immune responses at gut surfaces' Mulder IE et al - BMC Biol. 2009 Nov 20;7 (1):79

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