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Gastrointestinal, vaginal, nasopharyngeal, and breast milk microbiota profiles and breast milk metabolomic changes in Gambian infants over the first two months of lactation: a prospective cohort study

  • Karampatsas, K
  • Faal, A
  • Jaiteh, M
  • Garcia-Perez, I
  • Aller, S
  • Shaw, A
  • Kopytek, A
  • Witney, A
  • Le Doare, K
Publication Date
Sep 29, 2022
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
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Background: Microbiota composition in breast milk affects intestinal and respiratory microbiota colonization and the mucosal immune system's development in infants. The metabolomic content of breast milk is thought to interact with the microbiota and may influence developing infant immunity. Methods: 107 Gambian mothers and their healthy, vaginally delivered, exclusively breastfed infants were included in our study. We analyzed 32 breast milk samples, 51 maternal rectovaginal swabs and 30 infants' rectal swabs at birth. We also analyzed 9 breast milk samples and 18 infants' nasopharyngeal swabs 60 days post-delivery. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to determine the microbiota composition. Metabolomic profiling analysis was performed on colostrum and mature breast milk samples using a multiplatform approach combining 1-H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. Results: Bacterial communities were distinct in composition and diversity across different sample types. Breast milk composition changed over the first 60 days of lactation. α-1,4- and α-1,3-fucosylated human milk oligosaccharides, and other 33 key metabolites in breast milk (monosaccharides, sugar alcohols and fatty acids) increased between birth and day of 60 life. Conclusions: This study's results indicate that infant gut and respiratory microbiota are unique bacterial communities, distinct from maternal gut and breast milk, respectively. Breast milk microbiota composition and metabolomic profile change throughout lactation. These changes may contribute to the infant's immunological, metabolic, and neurological development and could consist the basis for future interventions to correct disrupted early life microbial colonization.

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