Fewer lactobacilli in guts of male infants born to asthmatic mothers
Lactobacilli bacteria appear to be less abundant in the guts of male infants born to asthmatic mothers, a recent study shows. On the other hand, Bacteroidaceae are more abundant in the guts of female infants.
The study included 1,021 mother-infant pairs recruited, from whom infant faecal samples were collected at 3 to 4 months of age. Relative microbial abundance and diversity was determined using sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene.
Maternal asthma status and medication during pregnancy were self-reported through standardized questionnaires.
Of all the infants, 9 percent were born to mothers who had asthma during pregnancy. The gut microbiota of the entire cohort was dominated by members of the Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes phyla. The guts of females had more Bacteroidetes than males (20.8 vs 9.3 percent).
The median relative abundance of Bacteroidetes was significantly higher in female infants born to mothers with asthma and concomitant allergies during pregnancy (p=0.02). The same trend was observed for members of the Bacteroidaceae family (p=0.03) and Megasphaera genus (p=0.02).
By comparison, males born to asthmatic mothers with concomitant allergies had borderline significant lower abundance of the Enterobacteriaceae (p=0.05) family and significantly higher abundance of the Lactobacillaceae family (p=0.03) and Megasphaera genus (p=0.03).
In multivariable regression analysis, infants born to mothers with prenatal asthma were significantly less likely to have high abundances of Lactobacillus bacteria (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.36; 95 percent CI, 0.16 to 0.78; p=0.01). This trend was preserved in males (adjusted OR, 0.26; 0.07 to 0.89; p=0.03) but not in females (adjusted OR, 0.48; 0.17 to 1.32; p=0.16).