Delivery mode and gestational duration decides dynamics of infant gut microbiota

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

As a part of the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study, researchers from Singapore, UK and Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland have found that infant gut bacterial makeup is influenced by external factors such as delivery mode and gestational duration. The study also found that infants with a mature gut bacteria profile at an early age had normal levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, while infants with less mature gut bacteria profiles tended to have lower levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, indicating that gut bacteria could be related to normal development and healthy weight gain.

The study published in mBio shows that most infants had acquired a microbiota profile high in Bifidobacterium and Collinsella by 6 months of age, but the time point of this acquisition was later in infants delivered by caesarean section and those born after a shorter duration of gestation. Independently of the delivery mode and gestation duration, infants who acquired a profile high in Bifidobacterium and Collinsella at a later age had lower adiposity/body fat at 18 months of age.

Dr Joanna Holbrook, Senior Principal Investigator at A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Clinical Scientists (SICS) said that epidemiological data has linked what happens to us very early in life with our health later in life.  The mechanisms for this are not yet known. It is not known as to how do our bodies remember our earliest experiences in a way that impacts health issues like our weight. This work suggests that one of the mechanisms for the transmission of early life experience to later life health is the seeding of our gut microbiota. Interesting!

The original publication can be accessed here.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.