Gut microbiota and environmental toxicants. Infants under double attack?

Friday seminar by Merete Eggesbø


The prevalence of many diseases is increasing among children, such as testicular cancer, allergies and childhood diabetes, for reasons unknown. Early life is a susceptible period in which environmental influences may have lifelong effects according to the concept of early life programming (DoHaD). Microbial input in this period may be crucial for the maturation of the immune system. Animal experiments have further demonstrated the importance of microbial input for neuropsychological development and amongst others associated the composition of gut microbiota to anxiety and depression.

Cesarean section, antibiotics and general hygiene measures in the western world are affecting the composition of gut microbiota in humans. These changes in gut microbiota may have implications for health although so far few studies exist in human. Variation in GM also affect the formation of bioactive compounds and overall fate of toxicants in the body which so far is an even less explored mechanism by which GM can affect individual susceptibility.

The NOMIC study was established in order to gain more knowledge of these factors with focus on human health. 600 newborns and their mothers were recruited to the study and delivered fecal samples at 4, 10, 30, 120 days and 1 and 2 years. Human milk was also sampled from the mothers for the purpose of analysing environmental toxicants. The fecal samples have been analysed with Illumina.

In this presentation I will talk about gut microbiota and how it may affect our health and also present the NoMIC study. Some of our results so far will be presented, amongst them our study of gut microbiota in infants and the relation to early risk markers of obesity.

Merete Eggesbø
Department of Genes and Environment
Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Published Jan. 3, 2014 10:59 AM - Last modified Nov. 23, 2017 10:08 AM