Interplay Between Human Leukocyte Antigen Genes and the Microbial Colonization Process of the Newborn Intestine
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Coeliac disease (CD) development involves genetic (HLA-DQ2/DQ8) and environmental factors. Herein, the influence of the HLA-DQ genotype on the gut colonization process of breast-fed children was determined. A cohort of 20 newborns, with at least one first-degree relative with CD, were classified according to their HLA-DQ genotype into high, intermediate and low genetic risk groups, showing 24-28%, 7-8% and less than 1% probability to develop CD, respectively. Faecal microbiota was analysed at 7 days, 1 and 4 months of children's age by fluorescence in situ hybridization. When considering all data, Gram-negative bacteria and Bacteroides-Prevotella group proportions were higher (P<0.05) in the high than in the intermediate and low genetic risk groups. E. coli, Streptococcus-Lactococcus, E. rectale-C. coccoides, sulphate-reducing bacteria, C. lituseburense and C. histolyticum group proportions were also significantly higher (P<0.05) in the high than in the low genetic risk group. Correlations between these bacterial groups and the genetic risk were also detected (P<0.05). In addition, the number and type of CD relative seemed to influence (P<0.050) these bacterial proportions in children at CD risk. At 4 months of age, similar relationships were established between the high genetic risk to develop CD and the proportions of Streptococcus-Lactococcus (P<0.05), E. rectale-C. coccoides (P<0.05), C. lituseburense (P<0.05), C. histolyticum (P<0.05), Bacteroides-Prevotella (P<0.10) groups and total Gram-negative bacteria (P<0.05). The results suggest a relationship between HLA-DQ genes and the gut microbial colonization process that could lead to a change in the way this disorder is investigated.
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