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"Human Infant Gut Microbiota"
The main aim of this project is to investigate the impact of cesarean delivery and antibiotics on gut microbiota and its association to child growth/obesity
Norwegian Research Council, program FRIMEDBIO grant project no 214324/F20.
The crucial role of gut microbiota in human health is now being acknowledged. Early infancy is a period of special interest due to the presence of developmental windows that relies on microbial stimulus from the gut, involving development of tolerance and stress responses. Furthermore, early gut microbiota is of interest as a determinant of the final adult microbiota. Factors disturbing early evolvement of gut microbiota, such as caesarean delivery, may have long term effects on health. Gut microbiota may also play a role in the development of obesity. By combining expertise in epidemiology, statistics, molecular genetics, microbiology and microbial ecology, we will explore this arena.
A collaboration has been set up with some of the top frontier researchers within this field (Rob Knight) and will expand on an already wide net work of national and international researchers. The NoMic cohort was established for the specific purpose of studying gut microbiota and its association to health and consists of 525 newborns in whom fecal samples have been collected at six age points up to two years of life. Microbial DNA has been extracted from all samples and will be analyzed by Rob Knights team.
The project is expected to lead to cutting edge knowledge on microbiota composition, the long term influences of caesarean delivery and perinatal antibiotic use, and its association to growth and obesity. We will further study the association between caesarean delivery and later weight/overweight in the MoBa cohort which includes 106000 mother child pairs.
This research could be of potential importance for policy makers with regard to caesarean delivery and prophylactic antibiotics. Furthermore, it will increase our knowledge on the etiology of obesity, and maybe give the basis for prophylactic interventions in the long term. Obesity is now one of the major risk factors for disease and a better understanding of the reasons for the exponential increase is desperately needed.
"Infants under double attack"
The main aim of this project is to investigate the exposures to environmental toxicants, and the modifying role of gut microbiota, for neuropsychological function.
Norwegian Research Council, program NEVRONOR grant project no 226402.
This project aim to increase our knowledge of the associations between environmental toxicants and neuropsychological development in children, while further supplementing the literature by considering associations with gut microbiota (GM).
GM variation affects the formation of bioactive compounds and overall fate of toxicants in the body, and is therefore essential in understanding individual susceptibility and improving risk assessments. Furthermore, GM composition and microbial functions will be studied as risk factors for neuropsychological development.
We will utilize a unique birth cohort, containing data on both environmental toxicants and GM in early life, where the children are now 8 years old.
Data on neuropsychological disorders (including ADHD) have been obtained from the Norwegian patient registry.The project will focus on the toxicants PCB, mercury, and arsenic. We aim at improved risk estimates by using a new and more accurate model for postnatal exposure assessment, separate assessment of organic and inorganic forms of metals, controlling for individual susceptibility (due to GM), and assessing chemical interactions. This proposal will take advantage of, and extend on, an ongoing EU project (DENAMIC) which studies associations between environmental toxicants and neuropsychological development. It also supplements ongoing work on GM and obesity (FrimedBio), and POPs and obesity (EU project OBELIX), that will be continued (NFR grant on the same topic).
We will collaborate with experimental researchers to validate our findings in animal models. This proposal will enable future studies on many health outcomes, including neurodegenerative disorders in the mothers. This proposal addresses large public health issues, expands on an already established network of multidisciplinary, highly renowned national and international scientists, and uses longitudinal cohorts, existing biobanks, and national registries. We expect our findings will lead to cutting edge knowledge and high-impact publications.