Establishment of the gut microbiota in Western infants
Article first published online: 12 JAN 2009
©2008 The Author(s)/Journal Compilation ©2008 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica/Acta Pædiatrica
Volume 98, Issue 2, pages 229–238, February 2009
How to Cite
Adlerberth, I. and Wold, A. (2009), Establishment of the gut microbiota in Western infants. Acta Paediatrica, 98: 229–238. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01060.x
- Issue published online: 12 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 12 JAN 2009
- Received 17 July 2008; revised 1 September 2008; accepted 8 September 2008.
In adult individuals, the intestinal microbiota comprises several hundred, mostly anaerobic, bacterial species. This complex ecosystem is formed through the successive establishment of different bacteria in infancy and early childhood. Facultative and aerotolerant bacteria establish first, followed by more and more strict anaerobes. The bacteria derive from different sources and the colonization pattern is influenced by delivery mode and environmental factors. Commensal microbes provide the major drive for maturation of the immune system. Increased hygiene appears to have changed the gut flora of Western infants, which may affect the risk of developing immune mediated diseases.
Conclusion: It is clear that the process of infant colonization needs to be studied further, since composition of the microbiota may impact on child health.