Research Article

Gut bacteria that prevent growth impairments transmitted by microbiota from malnourished children

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6275, aad3311
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3311

Microbiota and infant development

Malnutrition in children is a persistent challenge that is not always remedied by improvements in nutrition. This is because a characteristic community of gut microbes seems to mediate some of the pathology. Human gut microbes can be transplanted effectively into germ-free mice to recapitulate their associated phenotypes. Using this model, Blanton et al. found that the microbiota of healthy children relieved the harmful effects on growth caused by the microbiota of malnourished children. In infant mammals, chronic undernutrition results in growth hormone resistance and stunting. In mice, Schwarzer et al. showed that strains of Lactobacillus plantarum in the gut microbiota sustained growth hormone activity via signaling pathways in the liver, thus overcoming growth hormone resistance. Together these studies reveal that specific beneficial microbes could potentially be exploited to resolve undernutrition syndromes.

Science, this issue p. 10.1126/science.aad3311, p. 854

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science