Associations between Gut Microbiota and Intestinal Inflammation, Permeability and Damage in Young Malawian Children

Emma Kortekangas, Yue Mei Fan, David Chaima, Kirsi Maarit Lehto, Chikondi Malamba-Banda, Andrew Matchado, Chilungamo Chingwanda, Zhifei Liu, Ulla Ashorn, Yin Bun Cheung, Kathryn G. Dewey, Kenneth Maleta, Per Ashorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is common in low- and middle-income countries and associated with childhood undernutrition. The composition of gut microbiota has been implicated in the pathogenesis of EED. Our aim was to assess the associations between gut microbiota and EED biomarkers in rural Malawian children. We hypothesized that there would be an inverse association between microbiota maturity and diversity and fecal concentrations of EED biomarkers. METHODS: We used data from fecal samples collected at 6, 18 and 30 months from 611 children who were followed up during a nutrition intervention trial. The primary time point for analysis was 18 months. Microbiota data were obtained through 16S rRNA sequencing and variables included microbiota maturity and diversity, phylogenetic dissimilarity and relative abundances of individual taxa. EED biomarkers included calprotectin (marker of inflammation), alpha-1 antitrypsin (intestinal permeability) and REG1B (intestinal damage). RESULTS: There was an inverse association between microbiota maturity and diversity and fecal concentrations of all 3 EED biomarkers at 18 months (p≤0.001). The results were similar at 30 months, while at 6 months inverse associations were found only with calprotectin and alpha-1 antitrypsin concentrations. At 18 months, EED biomarkers were not associated with phylogenetic dissimilarity, but at 6 and 30 months several associations were observed. Individual taxa predicting EED biomarker concentrations at 18 months included several Bifidobacterium and Enterobacteriaceae taxa as well as potentially displaced oral taxa. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the hypothesis of an inverse association between microbiota maturity and diversity and EED in rural Malawian children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfmac012
Number of pages14
JournalJOURNAL OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • alpha 1-antitrypsin
  • child health
  • environmental enteric dysfunction
  • gastrointestinal microbiome
  • leukocyte L1 antigen complex
  • REG1B

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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