The Gut Microbiota in the First Decade of Life

Muriel Derrien*, Anne Sophie Alvarez, Willem M. de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Appreciation of the importance of the gut microbiome is growing, and it is becoming increasingly relevant to identify preventive or therapeutic solutions targeting it. The composition and function of the gut microbiota are relatively well described for infants (less than 3 years) and adults, but have been largely overlooked in pre-school (3–6 years) and primary school-age (6–12 years) children, as well as teenagers (12–18 years). Early reports suggested that the infant microbiota would attain an adult-like structure at the age of 3 years, but recent studies have suggested that microbiota development may take longer. This development time is of key importance because there is evidence to suggest that deviations in this development may have consequences in later life. In this review, we provide an overview of current knowledge concerning the gut microbiota, its evolution, variation, and response to dietary challenges during the first decade of life with a focus on healthy pre-school and primary school-age children (up to 12 years) from various populations around the globe. This knowledge should facilitate the identification of diet-based approaches targeting individuals of this age group, to promote the development of a healthy microbiota in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1010
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Volume27
Issue number12
Early online date29 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • children
  • evolution
  • gut microbiota
  • health
  • intervention
  • plasticity

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