Reduced genetic potential for butyrate fermentation in the gut microbiome of infants who develop allergic sensitization
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BACKGROUND: Allergic disease is the most frequent chronic health issue in children and has been linked to early-life gut microbiome dysbiosis. Many lines of evidence suggest that microbially derived short-chain fatty acids, and particularly butyrate, can promote immune tolerance. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether bacterial butyrate production in the gut during early infancy is protective against the development of atopic disease in children. METHODS: We used shotgun metagenomic analysis to determine whether dysbiosis in butyrate fermentation could be identified in human infants, before their developing allergic disease. RESULTS: We found that the microbiome of infants who went on to develop allergic sensitization later in childhood lacked genes encoding key enzymes for carbohydrate breakdown and butyrate production. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the importance of microbial carbohydrate metabolism during early infancy in protecting against the development of allergies.
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