Priming for health: gut microbiota acquired in early life regulates physiology, brain and behaviour

Acta Paediatr. 2014 Aug;103(8):812-9. doi: 10.1111/apa.12674. Epub 2014 May 17.


The infant gut microbiome is dynamic, and radical shifts in composition occur during the first 3 years of life. Disruption of these developmental patterns, and the impact of the microbial composition of our gut on brain and behaviour, has attracted much recent attention. Integrating these observations is an important new research frontier.

Conclusion: Early-life perturbations of the developing gut microbiota can impact on the central nervous system and potentially lead to adverse mental health outcomes.

Keywords: Behaviour; Brain Development; Breastfeeding; Early Life; Microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Child Development*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Infant
  • Microbiota*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology