Establishment of the nasal microbiota in the first 18 months of life: Correlation with early-onset rhinitis and wheezing

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Background:Dynamic establishment of the nasal microbiota in early life influences local mucosal immune responses and susceptibility to childhood respiratory disorders.Objective:The aim of this case-control study was to monitor, evaluate, and compare development of the nasal microbiota of infants with rhinitis and wheeze in the first 18 months of life with those of healthy control subjects.Methods:Anterior nasal swabs of 122 subjects belonging to the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) birth cohort were collected longitudinally over 7 time points in the first 18 months of life. Nasal microbiota signatures were analyzed by using 16S rRNA multiplexed pair-end sequencing from 3 clinical groups: (1) patients with rhinitis alone (n = 28), (2) patients with rhinitis with concomitant wheeze (n = 34), and (3) healthy control subjects (n = 60).Results:Maturation of the nasal microbiome followed distinctive patterns in infants from both rhinitis groups compared with control subjects. Bacterial diversity increased over the period of 18 months of life in control infants, whereas infants with rhinitis showed a decreasing trend (P< .05). An increase in abundance of the Oxalobacteraceae family (Proteobacteria phylum) and Aerococcaceae family (Firmicutes phylum) was associated with rhinitis and concomitant wheeze (adjustedP< .01), whereas the Corynebacteriaceae family (Actinobacteria phylum) and early colonization with the Staphylococcaceae family (Firmicutes phylum; 3 weeks until 9 months) were associated with control subjects (adjustedP< .05). The only difference between the rhinitis and control groups was a reduced abundance of the Corynebacteriaceae family (adjustedP< .05). Determinants of nasal microbiota succession included sex, mode of delivery, presence of siblings, and infant care attendance.Conclusion:Our results support the hypothesis that the nasal microbiome is involved in development of early-onset rhinitis and wheeze in infants.

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