Objective: The aim of the study was to characterize early nutritional and microbiological environments (maternal colostrum adiponectin concentration and early gut microbiota composition) in children subsequently becoming normal weight versus overweight.
Patients and methods: Fifteen overweight children at 10 years of age were identified from an ongoing prospective nutrition, allergy, mucosal immunology and intestinal microbiota project. Normal-weight children (n = 15), matched for sex, gestational age and body mass index at birth, mode of delivery, probiotic intervention, and duration of breast-feeding, were identified from the same cohort as controls. To characterize the early dietary environment we analyzed the adiponectin concentration in the maternal colostrum. With an aim to assess the initial microbiological environment, we analyzed the gut microbiota composition by fluorescent in situ hybridization in these children at the age of 3 months. Additionally, putative early markers of low-grade inflammation, such as serum-soluble innate microbial receptor sCD14, were analyzed at the age of 3 months.
Results: The colostrum adiponectin concentration was significantly higher in mothers whose children were normal weight than in those whose children were overweight at the age of 10 years (P = 0.001). In parallel, the normal-weight children had significantly higher sCD14 concentrations in the serum (P = 0.049) and tended to have higher bifidobacterial numbers in the gut microbiota (P = 0.087) at the age of 3 months.
Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that early dietary and gut microbiological environments have a more complex effect on the metabolic programming of a child than previously anticipated.