Eczema is a chronic form of childhood disorder that is gaining in prevalence in affluent societies. Previous studies hypothesized that the development of eczema is correlated with changes in microbial profile and composition of early life endemic microbiota, but contradictory conclusions were obtained, possibly due to the lack of minimization of apparent non-health related confounders (e.g., age, antibiotic consumption, diet and mode of delivery). In this study, we recruited seven caesarean-delivered and total formula-fed infants, and comparatively examined the early-life endemic microbiota in these infants with and without eczema. Using 16S pyrosequencing, infants' fecal microbiota were observed to comprise Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes as the four main phyla, and the presence and absence of specific populations within these four phyla are primarily mediated by ageing. Quantitative analysis of bacterial targets on a larger sample size (n = 36 at 1, 3, and 12 months of age) revealed that the abundances of Bifidobacterium and Enterobacteriaceae were different among caesarean-delivered infants with and without eczema, and the bacterial targets may be potential biomarkers that can correlate to the health status of these infants. Our overall findings suggest that the minimization of possible confounders is essential prior to comparative evaluation and correlation of fecal microbiota to health status, and that stool samples collected from caesarean-delivered infants at less than 1 year of age may represent a good cohort to study for potential biomarkers that can distinguish infants with eczema from those without. These findings would greatly facilitate future efforts in understanding the possible pathogenesis behind certain bacterial targets, and may lead to a timely intervention that reduces the occurrence of early life eczema and possibly allergic disorders in later life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)