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Gut 63:559-566 doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303249
  • Gut microbiota
  • Original article

Decreased gut microbiota diversity, delayed Bacteroidetes colonisation and reduced Th1 responses in infants delivered by Caesarean section

  1. Anders F Andersson8
  1. 1Department of Preparedness, Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control, Solna, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Pediatrics, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  4. 4Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Inflammation Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
  5. 5School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  6. 6Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  7. 7School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  8. 8KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Science for Life Laboratory, School of Biotechnology, Division of Gene Technology, Solna, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anders F Andersson: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Science for Life Laboratory, School of Biotechnology, Division of Gene Technology, PO Box 1031, Solna SE-171 21, Sweden; anders.andersson{at}scilifelab.se and Professor Lars Engstrand, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm SE-171 82, Sweden; lars.engstrand{at}ki.se
  • Received 6 July 2012
  • Revised 27 May 2013
  • Accepted 27 May 2013
  • Published Online First 7 August 2013

Abstract

Objective The early intestinal microbiota exerts important stimuli for immune development, and a reduced microbial exposure as well as caesarean section (CS) has been associated with the development of allergic disease. Here we address how microbiota development in infants is affected by mode of delivery, and relate differences in colonisation patterns to the maturation of a balanced Th1/Th2 immune response.

Design The postnatal intestinal colonisation pattern was investigated in 24 infants, born vaginally (15) or by CS (nine). The intestinal microbiota were characterised using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes at 1 week and 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after birth. Venous blood levels of Th1- and Th2-associated chemokines were measured at 6, 12 and 24 months.

Results Infants born through CS had lower total microbiota diversity during the first 2 years of life. CS delivered infants also had a lower abundance and diversity of the Bacteroidetes phylum and were less often colonised with the Bacteroidetes phylum. Infants born through CS had significantly lower levels of the Th1-associated chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL11 in blood.

Conclusions CS was associated with a lower total microbial diversity, delayed colonisation of the Bacteroidetes phylum and reduced Th1 responses during the first 2 years of life.