This article is from the May 21st online edition of the Popular Science magazine. Researchers are looking at ways to inoculate babies born by cesarean section with their mother’s microbiota.
The above article is based on a new study appearing in Trends in Molecular Medicine. Here are the highlights of that study:
- The infant microbiome educates the immune system and primes organ function.
- Infant microbiome development is perturbed by C-section, perinatal antibiotics, and formula feeding.
- Perturbed infant microbiomes have been linked to increased risk of metabolic and immune diseases.
- Restoration of the microbiome in infants may decrease the risk of associated diseases.
The infant microbiome plays an essential role in human health and its assembly is determined by maternal–offspring exchanges of microbiota. This process is affected by several practices, including Cesarean section (C-section), perinatal antibiotics, and formula feeding, that have been linked to increased risks of metabolic and immune diseases. Here we review recent knowledge about the impacts on infant microbiome assembly, discuss preventive and restorative strategies to ameliorate the effects of these impacts, and highlight where research is needed to advance this field and improve the health of future generations.