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Changes in the Gut Microbiota After Early Administration of Oral Synbiotics to Young Infants in India

Chandel, Dinesh S.*,†; Perez-Munoz, Maria E.‡,§; Yu, Fang||; Boissy, Robert; Satpathy, Radhanath#; Misra, Pravas R.#; Sharma, Nidhi**; Chaudhry, Rama**; Parida, Sailajanandan††; Peterson, Daniel A.‡,‡‡; Gewolb, Ira H.§§; Panigrahi, Pinaki*,||||

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: August 2017 - Volume 65 - Issue 2 - p 218–224
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001522
Original Articles: Nutrition

Objectives: The authors examined the changes in the developing gut microbiota of Indian infants enrolled in a colonization study of an oral synbiotic (Lactobacillus plantarum and fructo-oligosaccharides) preparation.

Methods: Frozen stool samples were available from a previously published clinical study of the synbiotic preparation administered daily for 7 days to full-term Indian infants delivered by C-section. 16S rRNA gene sequencing of fecal bacterial community-DNA was done in 11 infants sampled on day 7 and day 60 of life.

Results: All infants showed changes in bacterial diversity with age. While Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were predominant in all, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were initially low on day 7. In control infants, we observed a significant increase (P = 0.012) in the proportions of Actinobacteria on day 60. In the treated group, during the 60-day period, there was a 10-fold increase in Bacteroidetes, a somewhat smaller increase in Firmicutes, and a reduction in Proteobacteria. Compared to controls, treated infants were increasingly colonized by different Gram-positive genera including Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium. Relatively less known taxa and some unassigned sequence reads added to enriched diversity observed in the treated group.

Conclusions: There was a high level of bacterial diversity among infants examined in the present study. Synbiotic treatment induced an increase in overall taxa and Gram-positive diversity, especially in the first week of life. Changes in the microbiota during early infancy should be used as a rationale for selecting probiotics in diverse clinical settings.

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*Center for Global Health and Development

Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha

Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

§Department of Agriculture, Food Science and Nutrition, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

||Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health

Center for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

#Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

**Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

††Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, Odisha, India

‡‡Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

§§Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

||||Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Pinaki Panigrahi, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics & Director, Center for Global Health and Development, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984385 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4385 (e-mail:

Received 12 August, 2016

Accepted 13 January, 2017

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

This study was funded by grants U01 HD 40574 and R01 HD 53719 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, USA. Program staff was involved in study design for the clinical trial under the co-operative agreement. Funding agency had no further role on data analysis or genesis of this manuscript, although program officials provided overall guidance and monitoring.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,