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Pathways Linking Caesarean Delivery to Early Health in a Dual Burden Context: Immune Development and the Gut Microbiome in Infants and Children from Galapagos, Ecuador

Citation

Thompson, Amanda L.; Houck, Kelly M.; & Jahnke, Johanna R. (2019). Pathways Linking Caesarean Delivery to Early Health in a Dual Burden Context: Immune Development and the Gut Microbiome in Infants and Children from Galapagos, Ecuador. American Journal of Human Biology, 31(2), e23219. PMCID: PMC6661198

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Global increases in caesarean deliveries are exposing more infants to perinatal environments that are evolutionarily novel and potentially increasing their risks for inflammatory conditions. Yet, the pathways linking caesareans to later health outcomes are not well understood, particularly in dual burden contexts. We test two of the hypothesized pathways, altered immune function and gut microbiota, which may link delivery mode to later health outcomes and test whether these associations persist when controlling for postnatal nutritional and pathogenic exposures.
METHODS: Data come from infants, aged 0 to 2 (n = 41), and young children, aged 2 to 11 (n = 135), from the Galapagos, Ecuador. Differences in morbidity, C-reactive protein (CRP), and gut microbiota by delivery type were tested using linear and logistic regression models adjusted for nutritional and pathogenic exposures and infant age.
RESULTS: Over half of infants and over 40% of children were delivered by caesarean. Morbidity and CRP did not differ between infants or children born by caesarean or vaginally. Microbial taxa abundance differed by delivery mode. Infants born by caesarean had a higher abundance of Firmicutes and a lower relative abundance of Bacteroidales. Children born by caesarean had a higher abundance of Proteobacteria and Enterobacteriales. These differences remained after adjustment for environmental exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: Caesarean delivery is associated with differences in gut microbiota across childhood even in this dual burden context. Our results highlight the importance of examining caesarean delivery across diverse contexts to better understand the impact of perinatal interventions on short- and longer-term health outcomes.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23219

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2019

Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology

Author(s)

Thompson, Amanda L.
Houck, Kelly M.
Jahnke, Johanna R.

PMCID

PMC6661198