Microbiota supplementation with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus modifies the preterm infant gut microbiota and metabolome: An observational study

Cristina Alcon-Giner, Matthew J. Dalby, Shabhonam Caim, Jennifer Ketskemety, Alex Shaw, Kathleen Sim, Melissa A. E. Lawson, Raymond Kiu, Charlotte Leclaire, Lisa Chalklen, Magdalena Kujawska, Suparna Mitra, Fahmina Fardus-Reid, Gustav Belteki, Katherine Mccoll, Jonathan R. Swann, J. Simon Kroll, Paul Clarke, Lindsay J. Hall

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Supplementation with members of the early-life microbiota as “probiotics” is increasingly used in attempts to beneficially manipulate the preterm infant gut microbiota. We performed a large observational longitudinal study comprising two preterm groups: 101 infants orally supplemented with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (Bif/Lacto) and 133 infants non-supplemented (control) matched by age, sex, and delivery method. 16S rRNA gene profiling on fecal samples (n = 592) showed a predominance of Bifidobacterium and a lower abundance of pathobionts in the Bif/Lacto group. Metabolomic analysis showed higher fecal acetate and lactate and a lower fecal pH in the Bif/Lacto group compared to the control group. Fecal acetate positively correlated with relative abundance of Bifidobacterium, consistent with the ability of the supplemented Bifidobacterium strain to metabolize human milk oligosaccharides into acetate. This study demonstrates that microbiota supplementation is associated with a Bifidobacterium-dominated preterm microbiota and gastrointestinal environment more closely resembling that of full-term infants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100077
JournalCell Reports Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020

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