Gut microbiota and BMI throughout childhood: the role of firmicutes, bacteroidetes, and short-chain fatty acid producers

Timothy A. Houtman, Henrik A. Eckermann*, Hauke Smidt, Carolina de Weerth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Childhood obesity is a risk factor for numerous health conditions. A critical factor in the etiology of obesity appears to be the gut microbiota, which is the microbial community that resides in the human gut. The ratio of the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes (F/B) and gut bacterial genera that produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) have been suggested to contribute to obesity. The current study investigated (1) whether differences in F/B ratio can be observed in infancy and childhood in relation to zBMI in healthy children, and (2) whether an innovative proxy measure adds evidence to a relationship between SCFA producers and the etiology of obesity. Stool samples were collected at five time points, and zBMI was assessed at eight time points throughout the first 12 years of life. Our confirmatory analyses with Bayesian multilevel models showed no relationship between the F/B ratio and zBMI. Also, a proxy measure constructed from known SCFA producers was unrelated to zBMI throughout the first 12 years of life. Exploratory analyses using multilevel and random forest models suggest that the relative abundances of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were independently negatively associated with zBMI from infancy through childhood, and the SCFA producing genera Subdoligranulum and Alistipes were negatively related to future BMI in childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3140
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2022

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