Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 9, 123

The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes Ratio of the Human Microbiota Changes With Age

Affiliations

The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes Ratio of the Human Microbiota Changes With Age

D Mariat et al. BMC Microbiol.

Abstract

Background: In humans, the intestinal microbiota plays an important role in the maintenance of host health by providing energy, nutrients, and immunological protection. Applying current molecular methods is necessary to surmount the limitations of classical culturing techniques in order to obtain an accurate description of the microbiota composition.

Results: Here we report on the comparative assessment of human fecal microbiota from three age-groups: infants, adults and the elderly. We demonstrate that the human intestinal microbiota undergoes maturation from birth to adulthood and is further altered with ageing. The counts of major bacterial groups Clostridium leptum, Clostridium coccoides, Bacteroidetes, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Escherichia coli were assessed by quantitative PCR (qPCR). By comparing species diversity profiles, we observed age-related changes in the human fecal microbiota. The microbiota of infants was generally characterized by low levels of total bacteria. C. leptum and C. coccoides species were highly represented in the microbiota of infants, while elderly subjects exhibited high levels of E. coli and Bacteroidetes. We observed that the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes evolves during different life stages. For infants, adults and elderly individuals we measured ratios of 0.4, 10.9 and 0.6, respectively.

Conclusion: In this work we have confirmed that qPCR is a powerful technique in studying the diverse and complex fecal microbiota. Our work demonstrates that the fecal microbiota composition evolves throughout life, from early childhood to old age.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Box-and-Whisker plot of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratios in the three age-groups. Horizontal lines represent the paired comparison. Boxes contain 50% of all values and whiskers represent the 25th and 75th percentiles. Significantly different (P < 0.05) ratios are indicated by *, while NS corresponds to non-significant differences.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 300 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Blaut M, Collins MD, Welling GW, Dore J, Van Loo J, De Vos W. Molecular biological methods for studying the gut microbiota: the EU human gut flora project. Br J Nutr. 2002;87(Suppl 2):S203–11. doi: 10.1079/BJN/2002539. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Savage DC. Microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract. Annu Rev Microbiol. 1977;31:107–133. doi: 10.1146/annurev.mi.31.100177.000543. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Zoetendal EG, Collier CT, Koike S, Mackie RI, Gaskins HR. Molecular ecological analysis of the gastrointestinal microbiota: a review. J Nutr. 2004;134:465–472. - PubMed
    1. Eckburg PB, Bik EM, Berstein CN, Purdom E, Dethlefsen L, Sargent M, Gill SR, Nelson KE, Relman DA. Diversity of the human intestinal microbial flora. Science. 2005;308:1635–1638. doi: 10.1126/science.1110591. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Manichanh C, Rigottier-Gois L, Bonnaud E, Gloux K, Pelletier E, Frangeul L, Nalin R, Jarrin C, Chardon P, Marteau P, Roca J, Doré J. Reduced diversity of faecal microbiota in Crohn's disease revealed by a metagenomic approach. Gut. 2006;55:205–211. doi: 10.1136/gut.2005.073817. - DOI - PMC - PubMed

MeSH terms

Feedback