The early intestinal microbiota exerts important stimuli for immune development, and a reduced microbial exposure as well as cesarean section has been associated with the development of allergic disease.
Dr Anders Andersson and colleagues from Sweden addressed how microbiota development in infants is affected by mode of delivery, and relate differences in colonization patterns to the maturation of a balanced Th1/Th2 immune response.
The postnatal intestinal colonisation pattern was investigated in 24 infants, born vaginally or by cesarean section.
|Infants born through cesarean section had lower total microbiota diversity during the first 2 years of life|
The intestinal microbiota were characterized using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes at 1 week and 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after birth.
Venous blood levels of Th1- and Th2-associated chemokines were measured at 6, 12 and 24 months.
The research team noted that infants born through cesarean section had lower total microbiota diversity during the first 2 years of life.
The team observed that cesarean section delivered infants also had a lower abundance and diversity of the Bacteroidetes phylum and were less often colonized with the Bacteroidetes phylum.
Infants born through cesarean section had significantly lower levels of the Th1-associated chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL11 in blood.
Dr Andersson's team commented, "Cesarean section was associated with a lower total microbial diversity, delayed colonization of the Bacteroidetes phylum and reduced Th1 responses during the first 2 years of life."