Bacteroides-dominant gut microbiome of late infancy is associated with enhanced neurodevelopment
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Dysbiosis of gut microbiota has been retrospectively linked to autism spectrum disorders but the temporal association between gut microbiota and early neurodevelopment in healthy infants is largely unknown. We undertook this study to determine associations between gut microbiota at two critical periods during infancy and neurodevelopment in a general population birth cohort.Here, we analyzed data from 405 infants (199 females) from the CHILD (Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development) Cohort Study. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were objectively assessed using the Bayley Scale of Infant Development (BSID-III) at 1 and 2 years of age. Microbiota profiling with 16S rRNA gene sequencing was conducted on fecal samples obtained at a mean age of 4 and 12 months.Using clustering methods, we identified three groups of infants based on relative abundance of gut microbiota at 12 months: Proteobacteria-dominant cluster (22.4% higher abundance at 12 months), Firmicutes-dominant cluster (46.0% higher abundance at 12 months) and Bacteroidetes-dominant cluster (31.6% higher abundance at 12 months). Relative to the Proteobacteria-dominant cluster, the Bacteroidetes-dominant cluster was associated with higher scores for cognitive (4.8 points; FDRp = .02), language (4.2 points; FDRp≤0.001), and motor (3.1 points; FDRp = .03) development at age 2 in models adjusted for covariates. When stratified by sex, only male infants with a Bacteroidetes-dominant microbiota had more favorable cognitive (5.9 points, FDRp = .06) and language (7.9 points; FDRp≤0.001) development. Genus Bacteroides abundance in gut microbiota was positively correlated with cognitive and language scores at age 2. Fully adjusted linear mixed model analysis revealed a positive association between Bacteroidetes-dominant cluster and change in cognitive and language performance from 1 to 2 years, predominantly among males. No associations were evident between 4-month microbiota clusters and BSID-II scores. Noteworthy is that enhanced sphingolipid synthesis and metabolism, and antagonism or competition between Bacteroides and Streptococcus were characteristic of a Bacteroidetes-dominant gut microbiota.This study found strong evidence of positive associations between Bacteroidetes gut microbiota in late infancy and subsequent neurodevelopment, most prominently among males but not females.
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