Objective: To determine if urinary microbial communities similar to those described in adults exist in children and to profile the urinary and gastrointestinal microbiome in children presenting to urology for both routine and complex urologic procedures.
Methods: Prepubertal boys (n = 20, ages 3 months-8 years; median age 15 months) who required elective urologic procedures were eligible. Urine samples were collected via sterile catheterization and fecal samples were obtained by rectal swabs. DNA was extracted from urine pellet and fecal samples and subjected to bacterial profiling via 16S rDNA Illumina sequencing and 16S rDNA quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We assessed within and between sample diversity and differential species abundance between samples.
Results: Urine samples had low bacterial biomass that reflected the presence of bacterial populations. The most abundant genera detected in urine samples are not common to skin microbiota and several of the genera have been previously identified in the urinary microbiome of adults. We report presumably atypical compositional differences in both the urinary and gastrointestinal microbiome in children with prior antibiotic exposure and highlight an important case of a child who had undergone lifelong antibiotic treatment as prophylaxis for congenital abnormalities.
Conclusion: This study provides one of the first characterizations of the urinary microbiome in prepubertal males. Defining the baseline healthy microbiome in children may lay the foundation for understanding the long-term impact of factors such as antibiotic use in the development of a healthy microbiome as well as the development of future urologic and gastrointestinal diseases.
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