Asthma and the Microbiome

asthma imagesAs has been suspected for a long time, the Microbiome is proving to have an effect on asthma. Several recent papers have studied children with and without four specific types of bacteria, and found that infants with low levels of Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veilonella, and Rothia at the age of three months were at a higher risk of developing asthma by age three than those infants with higher levels of those bacteria. The differences in the bacteria at one year were not noticeable. These findings suggest that children need to have these specific bacteria within the first 100 days of life. It is suggested that diet and microbes are very important in the first year of life, and that there are certain developmental windows where the body trains the immune system.

Many people believe that the rise in anti-bacterial products lessen the number of microbes in the body. Caesarean sections and using formula rather than breast feeding are also believed to limit the bacteria given to a newborn. Antibiotics taken during pregnancy, and even eaten through beef and chicken can affect this as well.

These studies are not at a point where researchers are ready to give infants a cocktail containing the missing four bacteria, but having identified the specific microbes contributing to Asthma will give researchers more clues in fighting this disease.

1: Arrieta MC, Stiemsma LT, Dimitriu PA, Thorson L, Russell S, Yurist-Doutsch S, Kuzeljevic B, Gold MJ, Britton HM, Lefebvre DL, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A,McNagny KM, Sears MR, Kollmann T; CHILD Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Turvey SE, Brett Finlay B. Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 30;7(307):307ra152. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aab2271. PubMed PMID: 26424567.

2: Dominguez-Bello MG, Blaser MJ. Asthma: Undoing millions of years of coevolution in early life? Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 30;7(307):307fs39. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aad2741. PubMed PMID: 26424565.

3: Holt PG. The mechanism or mechanisms driving atopic asthma initiation: The infant respiratory microbiome moves to center stage. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015Jul;136(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.05.011. Review. PubMed PMID: 26145983.