Exclusively Breastfed Infant Microbiota Develops over Time and Is Associated with Human Milk Oligosaccharide Intakes

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Temporal development of maternal and infant microbiomes during early life impacts short- and long-term infant health. This study aimed to characterize bacterial dynamics within maternal faecal, human milk (HM), infant oral, and infant faecal samples during the exclusive breastfeeding period and to document associations between human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) intakes and infant oral and faecal bacterial profiles. Maternal and infant samples (n = 10) were collected at 2-5, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days postpartum and the full-length 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene was sequenced. Nineteen HMOs were quantitated using high-performance liquid chromatography. Bacterial profiles were unique to each sample type and changed significantly over time, with a large degree of intra- and inter-individual variation in all sample types. Beta diversity was stable over time within infant faecal, maternal faecal and HM samples, however, the infant oral microbiota at day 2-5 significantly differed from all other time points (all p < 0.02). HMO concentrations and intakes significantly differed over time, and HMO intakes showed differential associations with taxa observed in infant oral and faecal samples. The direct clinical relevance of this, however, is unknown. Regardless, future studies should account for intakes of HMOs when modelling the impact of HM on infant growth, as it may have implications for infant microbiota development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2804
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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