Influences of Maternal Diet and the Human Milk Microbiome on the Developing Infant Gut Microbiome

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingSamling av artiklar


The process of bacterial colonization of the infant intestinal tract is key in modulating development and may alter risk of early- and later-life diseases, especially those mediated by the immune system. There is growing evidence that exposures including breastfeeding and delivery mode influence bacterial colonization of the infant intestinal tract. The gut microbiome of breastfed infants is consistently found to be different from that of formula-fed infants, due to the unique combination of immune, microbial, oligosaccharide, and nutritive factors in human milk which are largely absent from infant formula. Further, the specific components comprising human milk, especially the microbial communities, differ considerably among women, which may have important implications for infants. Little is yet known of the factors influencing observed differences in the human milk microbiome, or the effect those differences have on the infant gut microbiome amongst breastfed infants. Maternal diet is one understudied and important exposure in relation to the infant microbiome. The microbial communities inhabiting the infant intestinal tract could be influenced by maternal diet through a variety of biological mechanisms, including exposure to maternal gut microbes during vaginal delivery, molecular variation in breast milk related to maternal diet, or directly due to effects of maternal pre-pregnancy diet on fetal development that may affect bacterial colonization patterns. Here we identify factors associated with the human milk microbiome, and test the relation between maternal diet, the human milk microbiome, and the infant gut microbiome across the first year of life. We leverage data from the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study, which enrolls expectant mothers during pregnancy and follows mother-infant dyads continuing throughout childhood to assess key exposures, development, and child health outcomes. Breast milk and infant stool samples are collected around 6-weeks postpartum, and subsequently at four additional timepoints through one year of age for a subset of subjects. We use a targeted sequencing approach of the V4-V5 region of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the microbial communities in these samples. Expanding our knowledge of how maternal factors, especially those that are modifiable, affect the infant gut microbiome is important for guiding approaches to support infant health.
Tilldelande institution
  • Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
  • Christensen, Brock, Rådgivare, Extern person
  • Hoen, Anne, Rådgivare, Extern person
Tilldelningsdatum5 apr. 2019
StatusPublicerad - 2019
Externt publiceradJa
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 3111 Biomedicinska vetenskaper

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