Development of Upper Respiratory Tract Microbiota in Infancy is Affected by Mode of Delivery

Astrid A T M Bosch, Evgeni Levin, Marlies A van Houten, Raiza Hasrat, Gino Kalkman, Giske Biesbroek, Wouter A A de Steenhuijsen Piters, Pieter-Kees C M de Groot, Paula Pernet, Bart J F Keijser, Elisabeth A M Sanders, Debby Bogaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Birth by Caesarian section is associated with short- and long-term respiratory morbidity. We hypothesized that mode of delivery affects the development of the respiratory microbiota, thereby altering its capacity to provide colonization resistance and consecutive pathobiont overgrowth and infections. Therefore, we longitudinally studied the impact of mode of delivery on the nasopharyngeal microbiota development from birth until six months of age in a healthy, unselected birth cohort of 102 children (n=761 samples). Here, we show that the respiratory microbiota develops within one day from a variable mixed bacterial community towards a Streptococcus viridans-predominated profile, regardless of mode of delivery. Within the first week, rapid niche differentiation had occurred; initially with in most infants Staphylococcus aureus predominance, followed by differentiation towards Corynebacterium pseudodiphteriticum/propinquum, Dolosigranulum pigrum, Moraxella catarrhalis/nonliquefaciens, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and/or Haemophilus influenzae dominated communities. Infants born by Caesarian section showed a delay in overall development of respiratory microbiota profiles with specifically reduced colonization with health-associated commensals like Corynebacterium and Dolosigranulum, thereby possibly influencing respiratory health later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-45
Number of pages10
Early online date26 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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