Factors influencing the gut microbiome in children: from infancy to childhood

J Biosci. 2019 Jun;44(2):49.


The human microbiota plays a crucial role in educating the immune system and influencing host health right since birth. Various maternal factors along with the vertical microbial transfer from the mother, as well as the horizontal environmental transmission and internal factors relating to the infant, play a crucial role in modulating the gut microbiota. The early life microflora is highly unstable and undergoes dynamic changes during the first few years, converging towards a more stabilized adult microbiota by co-evolving with the host by the age of 3-4 years. Microbiota studies have underlined the role of dysbiosis in developing several metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes and immune-related disorders like asthma, to name a few. Thus, understanding early life microbial composition and various factors affecting the microbial community will provide a platform for developing strategies/techniques to maintain host health by restoring gut microbial flora. This review focuses on the factors that affect the microbial composition of the foetus in utero, during birth, infancy through childhood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology*
  • Diet / methods
  • Dysbiosis / immunology
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents