Dynamic molecular changes during the first week of human life follow a robust developmental trajectory

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Abstract

Systems biology can unravel complex biology but has not been extensively applied to human newborns, a group highly vulnerable to a wide range of diseases. We optimized methods to extract transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, cytokine/chemokine, and single cell immune phenotyping data from <1 ml of blood, a volume readily obtained from newborns. Indexing to baseline and applying innovative integrative computational methods reveals dramatic changes along a remarkably stable developmental trajectory over the first week of life. This is most evident in changes of interferon and complement pathways, as well as neutrophil-associated signaling. Validated across two independent cohorts of newborns from West Africa and Australasia, a robust and common trajectory emerges, suggesting a purposeful rather than random developmental path. Systems biology and innovative data integration can provide fresh insights into the molecular ontogeny of the first week of life, a dynamic developmental phase that is key for health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1092
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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