Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Pre-adolescents (children aged 7 to 12 years) might indeed be different from adults in more than one way! A new study found that the gut microbiome of pre-adolescent children was different from that seen in adults.
For the study, the researchers evaluated data from 37 pre-adolescent healthy children. They used 16S rRNA gene and shotgun metagenomic sequencing to analyse the children’s gut microbiota. The findings of the study were reported in the journal Microbiome.
The following were the observations from the study:
The gut microbiome of pre-adoelscents was similar to that of adults except for a difference in the abundance of Bifidobacterium spp., Faecalibacterium spp., and members of the Lachnospiraceae.
Among healthy children, there was relative abundance of genes involved in the synthesis of folate and cobalmine. These vitamins are important for DNA support and synthesis.
The gut microbes in healthy pre-adolescents were the ones that were capable of metabolising key amino acids such as tyrosine, lysine, cysteine and methionine. These amino acids serve as a substrate for biogenic amines and neurotransmitters.
“Our results support and extend a growing body of evidence suggesting that gastrointestinal microbial communities undergo succession in concert with the maturation and development of their human hosts. Perhaps more importantly, our results also indicate that, although the paediatric gut microbiome is characterized by levels of taxonomic and functional richness that rival those found in healthy adults, both taxonomic and functional differences distinguish the gut microbial communities of healthy children and adults from one another,” said the researchers.
The findings of the study hold tremendous potential for the development of childhood probiotic interventions for certain conditions and also to test its efficacy.
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