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Gut microbiota diversity but not composition is related to saliva cortisol stress response at the age of 2.5 months.

Authors
  • Keskitalo, Anniina1, 2
  • Aatsinki, Anna-Katariina1
  • Kortesluoma, Susanna1
  • Pelto, Juho1
  • Korhonen, Laura1, 3
  • Lahti, Leo4
  • Lukkarinen, Minna1, 3
  • Munukka, Eveliina2, 5
  • Karlsson, Hasse1, 6, 7
  • Karlsson, Linnea1, 6, 7
  • 1 FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study, Turku Brain and Mind Center, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 2 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 3 Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 4 Department of Computing, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 5 Microbiome Biobank, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 6 Centre for Population Health Research, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
  • 7 Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland. , (Finland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2021
Volume
24
Issue
5
Pages
551–560
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/10253890.2021.1895110
PMID: 33729084
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Human brain and intestinal microbes reportedly maintain a constant bidirectional connection through diverse neural, endocrine, immune, and metabolic pathways. Increasing evidence indicates that this communication system, referred to as microbiota-gut-brain axis, enables the gut microbes to influence several aspects of brain function and behavior, including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stress responses, and on the other hand, stress can affect gut microbiota. However, the role of gut microbiota in the HPA axis functioning in humans remains to be specified especially in early life. This study aimed at identifying the potential link between the cortisol stress response and the gut microbiota at the age of 2.5 months. Fecal microbiota profiles were acquired by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, while salivary cortisol responses after an exposure to a mild acute stressor represented the HPA axis reactivity. We observed that a blunted cortisol stress response was weakly associated with a diverse gut microbiota diversity at the age of 2.5 months. Gut microbiota composition was not associated with cortisol stress responsiveness, but rather with covariates, i.e. factors that influence gut microbiota composition and colonization.LAY SUMMARYThis exploratory study aimed at identifying possible links between cortisol stress responses and fecal microbiota composition in early infancy. In a well-characterized study population of 2.5-month-old infants, we observed that an attenuated cortisol stress responsiveness after a mild stressor was weakly associated with a diverse fecal microbiota. Our results suggest that the gut microbiota composition is associated with environmental factors, such as delivery mode and number of siblings, rather than with cortisol stress responsiveness, in this age group.

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