Development of the gut microbiota in early life: The impact of cystic fibrosis and antibiotic treatment

Maartje Kristensen*, Sabine M.P.J. Prevaes, Gino Kalkman, Gerdien A. Tramper-Stranders, Raiza Hasrat, Karin M. de Winter- de Groot, Hettie M. Janssens, Harm A. Tiddens, Mireille van Westreenen, Elisabeth A.M. Sanders, Bert Arets, Bart Keijser, Cornelis K. van der Ent, Debby Bogaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives: Patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) suffer from pancreatic insufficiency, lipid malabsorption and gastrointestinal complaints, next to progressive pulmonary disease. Altered mucosal homoeostasis due to malfunctioning chloride channels results in an adapted microbial composition of the gastrointestinal and the respiratory tract. Additionally, antibiotic treatment has the potential to distort resident microbial communities dramatically. This study aims to investigate early life development of the gut microbial community composition of children with CF compared to healthy infants and to study the independent effects of antibiotics taking into account other clinical and lifestyle factors. Study design: Faecal samples from 20 infants with CF and 45 healthy infants were collected regularly during the first 18 months of life and microbial composition was determined using 16S rRNA based sequencing. Results: We observed significant differences in the overall microbiota composition between infants with CF and healthy infants (p<0.001). Akkermansia and Anaerostipes were significantly more abundant in control infants, whereas Streptococci and E. coli were significantly more abundant in infants with CF, also after correction for several clinical factors (p<0.05). Antibiotic use in infants with CF was associated with a lower alpha diversity, a reduced abundance of Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides, and a higher abundance of Enterococcus. Conclusion: Microbial development of the gut is different in infants with CF compared to healthy infants from the first months of life on, and further deviates over time, in part as a result of antibiotic treatment. The resulting dysbiosis may have significant functional consequences for the microbial ecosystem in CF patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-561
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number4
Early online date30 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Gut
  • Infants
  • Microbiome


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