Maternal obesity is associated with gut microbial metabolic potential in offspring during infancy

Abstract

Children born to obese mothers are at increased risk for obesity, but the mechanisms behind this association are not fully understood. Our study aimed to investigate differences in the functions encoded by the microbiome of infants at 18 months of age when the transition from early infant-feeding to solid family foods is established. To investigate the impact of maternal prepregnancy body mass index on infants’ gut microbiome, faecal samples from infants born to normoweight (n = 21) and obese mothers (n = 18) were analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a functional-inference-based microbiome analysis. Our results indicated that Firmicutes was significantly enriched in infants born to normoweight mothers whereas Bacteroidetes was significantly enriched in infants born to obese women. In both microbiomes, the greatest number of genes (>50%) that were assigned a function encoded for proteins involved in “metabolism” among tier 1 KEGG Orthology (KO) categories. At lower KO functional categories, the microbiome of infants born to normoweight mothers was characterized by a significant enrichment in the abundances of “pentose phosphate pathway” (p = 0.037), “lysine biosynthesis” (p = 0.043), “glycerolipid metabolism” (p = 0.042), and “C5-branched dibasic acid metabolism” (p = 0.045). Notably, the microbiome of infants born to obese mothers was significantly enriched in “streptomycin biosynthesis” (p = 0.047), “sulphur metabolism” (p = 0.041), “taurine and hypotaurine metabolism” (p = 0.036), and “lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis” (p = 0.043). In summary, our study showed that maternal prepregnancy obesity may imprint a selective gut microbial composition during late infancy with distinct functional performances.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 613979 (MyNewGut Project 2013/KB/613979) and no. 329812 (MC IEF, NutriOmics) and by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) BFU2012-40254-C03-01. Tomás Cerdó participated in the PhD Program in Biomedicine of the University of Granada and is a fellow of the FPI (BES-2013-065133) Program at the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. This article will be part of the Doctoral PhD of Tomás Cerdó.

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Correspondence to Cristina Campoy.

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Cerdó, T., Ruiz, A., Jáuregui, R. et al. Maternal obesity is associated with gut microbial metabolic potential in offspring during infancy. J Physiol Biochem 74, 159–169 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13105-017-0577-x

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Keywords

  • Gut microbiota
  • Metabolism
  • Maternal obesity
  • Infant
  • Microbiome