Changes in the Gut Microbiota After Early Administration of Oral Synbiotics to Young Infants in India

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Abstract

Objectives:

The authors examined the changes in the developing gut microbiota of Indian infants enrolled in a colonization study of an oral synbiotic (Lactobacillus plantarum and fructo-oligosaccharides) preparation.

Methods:

Frozen stool samples were available from a previously published clinical study of the synbiotic preparation administered daily for 7 days to full-term Indian infants delivered by C-section. 16S rRNA gene sequencing of fecal bacterial community-DNA was done in 11 infants sampled on day 7 and day 60 of life.

Results:

All infants showed changes in bacterial diversity with age. While Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were predominant in all, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were initially low on day 7. In control infants, we observed a significant increase (P = 0.012) in the proportions of Actinobacteria on day 60. In the treated group, during the 60-day period, there was a 10-fold increase in Bacteroidetes, a somewhat smaller increase in Firmicutes, and a reduction in Proteobacteria. Compared to controls, treated infants were increasingly colonized by different Gram-positive genera including Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium. Relatively less known taxa and some unassigned sequence reads added to enriched diversity observed in the treated group.

Conclusions:

There was a high level of bacterial diversity among infants examined in the present study. Synbiotic treatment induced an increase in overall taxa and Gram-positive diversity, especially in the first week of life. Changes in the microbiota during early infancy should be used as a rationale for selecting probiotics in diverse clinical settings.

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