References and abstracts of interest

References and abstracts of interest

PLoS One . 2022 Nov 9;17(11):e0277405. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277405. eCollection 2022. 

Microbial effects of prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics after Caesarean section or exposure to antibiotics in the first week of life: A systematic review. Nora C Carpay 1, Kim Kamphorst 1, Tim G J de Meij 2, Joost G Daams 3, Arine M Vlieger 4, Ruurd M van Elburg 1 


Background and aims: Disruption of the developing microbiota by Caesarean birth or early exposure to antibiotics may impact long-term health outcomes, which can potentially be prevented by nutritional supplements. This systematic review aimed to summarise the evidence regarding the effects of prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics on the intestinal microbiota composition of term infants born by Caesarean section or exposed to antibiotics in the first week of life.

Methods: A systematic search was performed from inception to August 2022 in Medline and Embase. Two researchers independently performed title and abstract screening (n = 12,230), full-text screening (n = 46) and critical appraisal. We included randomised controlled trials which included term-born infants who were born following Caesarean section or who were exposed to postpartum antibiotics in the first week of life, pre-, pro- or synbiotics were administered <6 weeks after birth and outcome(s) consisted of microbiota analyses.

Results: Twelve randomised controlled trials investigating Caesarean born infants and one randomised controlled trial including infants exposed to antibiotics were included. Group sizes varied from 11 to 230 with 1193 infants in total. Probiotic (n = 7) or synbiotic (n = 3) supplementation significantly increased the abundance of the supplemented bacterial species (of the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genus), and there was a decrease in Enterobacteriaceae, especially <4 weeks of age. At phylum level, Actinobacteria (two studies), Proteobacteria (one study) and Firmicutes (one study) increased after probiotic supplementation. In three studies on prebiotics, two studies reported a significant increase in Bifidobacteria and one study found a significant increase in Enterobacteriaceae.

Discussion: Prebiotic, probiotic and synbiotic supplements seem to restore dysbiosis after Caesarean section towards a microbial signature of vaginally born infants by increasing the abundance of beneficial bacteria.


. 2022 Nov 24;12(12):1748.

doi: 10.3390/biom12121748.

Zinc in Human Health and Infectious Diseases

Martina Maywald 1Lothar Rink 1

Affiliations  expand


During the last few decades, the micronutrient zinc has proven to be an important metal ion for a well-functioning immune system, and thus also for a suitable immune defense. Nowadays, it is known that the main cause of zinc deficiency is malnutrition. In particular, vulnerable populations, such as the elderly in Western countries and children in developing countries, are often affected. However, sufficient zinc intake and homeostasis is essential for a healthy life, as it is known that zinc deficiency is associated with a multitude of immune disorders such as metabolic and chronic diseases, as well as infectious diseases such as respiratory infections, malaria, HIV, or tuberculosis. Moreover, the modulation of the proinflammatory immune response and oxidative stress is well described. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of zinc have been known for a long time, but are not comprehensively researched and understood yet. Therefore, this review highlights the current molecular mechanisms underlying the development of a pro-/ and anti-inflammatory immune response as a result of zinc deficiency and zinc supplementation. Additionally, we emphasize the potential of zinc as a preventive and therapeutic agent, alone or in combination with other strategies, that could ameliorate infectious diseases.

Clinical Trial


J Allergy Clin Immunol

  • . 2017 Feb;139(2):482-491.e14.

    doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.08.045. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Factors influencing the infant gut microbiome at age 3-6 months: Findings from the ethnically diverse Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial (VDAART)

Joanne E Sordillo 1Yanjiao Zhou 2Michael J McGeachie 1John Ziniti 1Nancy Lange 1Nancy Laranjo 1Jessica R Savage 3Vincent Carey 1George O’Connor 4Megan Sandel 4Robert Strunk 5Leonard Bacharier 5Robert Zeiger 6Scott T Weiss 1George Weinstock 2Diane R Gold 1Augusto A Litonjua 7

Affiliations  expand


Background: The gut microbiome in infancy influences immune system maturation, and may have an important impact on allergic disease risk.

Objective: We sought to determine how prenatal and early life factors impact the gut microbiome in a relatively large, ethnically diverse study population of infants at age 3 to 6 months, who were enrolled in Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial, a clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy to prevent asthma and allergies in offspring.

Methods: We performed 16S rRNA gene sequencing on 333 infants’ stool samples. Microbial diversity was computed using the Shannon index. Factor analysis applied to the top 25 most abundant taxa revealed 4 underlying bacterial coabundance groups; the first dominated by Firmicutes (Lachnospiraceae/Clostridiales), the second by Proteobacteria (Klebsiella/Enterobacter), the third by Bacteriodetes, and the fourth by Veillonella. Scores for coabundance groups were used as outcomes in regression models, with prenatal/birth and demographic characteristics as independent predictors. Multivariate analysis, using all microbial community members, was also conducted.

Results: White race/ethnicity was associated with lower diversity but higher Bacteroidetes coabundance scores. C-section birth was associated with higher diversity, but decreased Bacteroidetes coabundance scores. Firmicutes scores were higher for infants born by C-section. Breast-fed infants had lower proportions of Clostridiales. Cord blood vitamin D was linked to increased Lachnobacterium, but decreased Lactococcus.

Conclusions: The findings presented here suggest that race, mode of delivery, breast-feeding, and cord blood vitamin D levels are associated with infant gut microbiome composition, with possible long-term implications for immune system modulation and asthma/allergic disease incidence.



Review J Clin Med . 2021 Jan 25;10(3):459.  doi: 10.3390/jcm10030459. The Association between Early-Life Gut Microbiota and Long-Term Health and Diseases.  Anujit Sarkar 1 2, Ji Youn Yoo 1, Samia Valeria Ozorio Dutra 3, Katherine H Morgan 3, Maureen Groer 1

Nutrients . 2022 Jan 14;14(2):341. doi: 10.3390/nu14020341. The Impact of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics during Pregnancy or Lactation on the Intestinal Microbiota of Children Born by Cesarean Section: A Systematic Review.  Sandra Martín-Peláez 1 2, Naomi Cano-Ibáñez 1 2 3, Miguel Pinto-Gallardo 1, Carmen Amezcua-Prieto 1 2 3

Review Dig Dis Sci . 2020 Mar;65(3):706-722. doi: 10.1007/s10620-020-06092-x. Microbiome Composition in Pediatric Populations from Birth to Adolescence: Impact of Diet and Prebiotic and Probiotic Interventions. Erin C Davis 1, Andrew M Dinsmoor 1, Mei Wang 2, Sharon M Donovan 3 4 5

Randomized Controlled Trial Am J Clin Nutr. . 2017 Nov;106(5):1274-1286. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.157529. Epub 2017 Sep 6. Randomized controlled trial on the impact of early-life intervention with bifidobacteria on the healthy infant fecal microbiota and metabolome. Monika Bazanella 1, Tanja V Maier 2, Thomas Clavel 3, Ilias Lagkouvardos 3, Marianna Lucio 2, Maria X Maldonado-Gòmez 4, Chloe Autran 5, Jens Walter 6, Lars Bode 5, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin 7 2, Dirk Haller 8 3