BACKGROUND: During early life, dynamic gut colonization and brain development co-occur with potential cross-talk mechanisms affecting behaviour.
METHODS: We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to examine the associations between gut microbiota and neurodevelopmental outcomes assessed by the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III in 71 full-term healthy infants at 18 months of age. We hypothesized that children would differ in gut microbial diversity, enterotypes obtained by Dirichlet multinomial mixture analysis and specific taxa based on their behavioural characteristics.
RESULTS: In children dichotomized by behavioural trait performance in above- and below-median groups, weighted Unifrac b-diversity exhibited significant differences in fine motor (FM) activity. Dirichlet multinomial mixture modelling identified two enterotypes strongly associated with FM outcomes. When controlling for maternal pre-gestational BMI and breastfeeding for up to 3 months, the examination of signature taxa in FM groups showed that Turicibacter and Parabacteroides were highly abundant in the below-median FM group, while Collinsella, Coprococcus, Enterococcus, Fusobacterium, Holdemanella, Propionibacterium, Roseburia, Veillonella, an unassigned genus within Veillonellaceae and, interestingly, probiotic Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus were more abundant in the above-median FM group.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest an association between enterotypes and specific genera with FM activity and may represent an opportunity for probiotic interventions relevant to treatment for motor disorders.
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