Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Prof. Kozyrskyj: Our study determined what “good” gut bacteria were present in 166 full-term infants enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study. Funded by CIHR and AllerGen NCE, this landmark study involves more than 3,500 families and their newborn infants across Canada. Gut bacteria were identified by DNA sequences extracted from infant poop.
Infants with a fewer number of different bacteria in their gut at 3 months of age were more likely to become sensitized to foods such as milk, egg or peanut, by the time they were 1 years old. Infants who developed food sensitization also had altered levels of two specific types of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae and Bacteroidaceae, compared to infants who didn’t.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Prof. Kozyrskyj: Not all infants sensitized to food will develop full-blown food allergy, asthma or other allergic conditions. However, infants with a positive skin test to foods such as milk, egg or peanut, are at higher risk for these outcomes and can be identified by changes in gut bacterial composition as early as 3 months of age.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Prof. Kozyrskyj: Clinicians and parents should be aware that changes in gut bacterial composition occur before the development of food sensitization and can be used as a “biomarker” to identify which infants are at higher risk.
B. Azad, T. Konya, D. S. Guttman, C. J. Field, M. R. Sears, K. T. HayGlass, P. J. Mandhane, S. E. Turvey, P. Subbarao, A. B. Becker, J. A. Scott, A. L. Kozyrskyj. Infant gut microbiota and food sensitization: associations in the first year of life. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2015; 45 (3): 632 DOI: 10.1111/cea.12487
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anita Kozyrskyj Ph.D (2015). Infant Gut Bacteria Linked To Later Food Sensitization