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Diversity of the gut microbiota and eczema in early life

Author(s): Forno Erick | Onderdonk Andrew | McCracken John | Litonjua Augusto | Laskey Daniel | Delaney Mary | DuBois Andrea | Gold Diane | Ryan Louise | Weiss Scott | Celedón Juan

Journal: Clinical and Molecular Allergy
ISSN 1476-7961

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background A modest number of prospective studies of the composition of the intestinal microbiota and eczema in early life have yielded conflicting results. Objective To examine the relationship between the bacterial diversity of the gut and the development of eczema in early life by methods other than stool culture. Methods Fecal samples were collected from 21 infants at 1 and 4 months of life. Nine infants were diagnosed with eczema by the age of 6 months (cases) and 12 infants were not (controls). After conducting denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of stool samples, we compared the microbial diversity of cases and controls using the number of electrophoretic bands and the Shannon index of diversity (H') as indicators. Results Control subjects had significantly greater fecal microbial diversity than children with eczema at ages 1 (mean H' for controls = 0.75 vs. 0.53 for cases, P = 0.01) and 4 months (mean H' for controls = 0.92 vs. 0.59 for cases, P = 0.02). The increase in diversity from 1 to 4 months of age was significant in controls (P = 0.04) but not in children who developed eczema by 6 months of age (P = 0.32). Conclusion Our findings suggest that reduced microbial diversity is associated with the development of eczema in early life.
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