Mother-infant microbiota transmission and infant microbiota development across multiple body sites

Debby Bogaert*, Gina J Van Beveren, Emma M de Koff, Paula Lusarreta Parga, Carlos Balcazar Lopez, Lilian Koppensteiner, Melanie Clerc, Raiza Hasrat, Kayleigh Arp, Mei Ling J.N. Chu, Pieter C.M. de Groot, Elisabeth A M Sanders, Marlies A van Houten, Wouter A.A. de Steenhuijsen Piters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Early-life microbiota seeding and subsequent development is crucial to future health. Cesarean-section (CS) birth, as opposed to vaginal delivery, affects early mother-to-infant transmission of microbes. Here, we assess mother-to-infant microbiota seeding and early-life microbiota development across six maternal and four infant niches over the first 30 days of life in 120 mother-infant pairs. Across all infants, we estimate that on average 58.5% of the infant microbiota composition can be attributed to any of the maternal source communities. All maternal source communities seed multiple infant niches. We identify shared and niche-specific host/environmental factors shaping the infant microbiota. In CS-born infants, we report reduced seeding of infant fecal microbiota by maternal fecal microbes, whereas colonization with breastmilk microbiota is increased when compared with vaginally born infants. Therefore, our data suggest auxiliary routes of mother-to-infant microbial seeding, which may compensate for one another, ensuring that essential microbes/microbial functions are transferred irrespective of disrupted transmission routes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-460.e6
JournalCell Host & Microbe
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 16S-rRNA sequencing
  • Bacteroides
  • cesarean section
  • development
  • early-life
  • heritability
  • microbiome
  • microbiota
  • mother-infant transmission
  • seeding


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