Unbalance of intestinal microbiota in atopic children
1 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Belmeloro 6, Bologna, 40126, Italy
2 Institute of Biomedical Technologies, Italian National Research Council, Milan, Italy
3 Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Unit Lalla Seràgnoli, Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
4 Department of Gynecological, Obstetrical and Pediatric Sciences, Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:95 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-95Published: 6 June 2012
Playing a strategic role in the host immune function, the intestinal microbiota has been recently hypothesized to be involved in the etiology of atopy. In order to investigate the gastrointestinal microbial ecology of atopic disease, here we performed a pilot comparative molecular analysis of the faecal microbiota in atopic children and healthy controls.
Nineteen atopic children and 12 healthy controls aged 4–14 years were enrolled. Stools were collected and the faecal microbiota was characterized by means of the already developed phylogenetic microarray platform, HTF-Microbi.Array, and quantitative PCR. The intestinal microbiota of atopic children showed a significant depletion in members of the Clostridium cluster IV, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Akkermansia muciniphila and a corresponding increase of the relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae.
Depleted in key immunomodulatory symbionts, the atopy-associated microbiota can represent an inflammogenic microbial consortium which can contribute to the severity of the disease. Our data open the way to the therapeutic manipulation of the intestinal microbiota in the treatment of atopy by means of pharmaceutical probiotics.