University of Oulu

Kielenniva, K., Ainonen, S., Vänni, P., Paalanne, N., Renko, M., Salo, J., Tejesvi, M. V., Pokka, T., Pirttilä, A. M., & Tapiainen, T. (2022). Microbiota of the first‐pass meconium and subsequent atopic and allergic disorders in children. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 52(5), 684–696.

Microbiota of the first-pass meconium and subsequent atopic and allergic disorders in children

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Author: Kielenniva, Katja1; Ainonen, Sofia1; Vänni, Petri2,3;
Organizations: 1PEDEGO (Pediatrics, Dermatology, Gynecology, Obstetrics) Research Unit and Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Ecology and Genetics, Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Genobiomics Ltd., Oulu, Finland
4Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Pediatrics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-12-30


Background: Some cohort studies have suggested that gut microbiota composition is associated with allergic diseases in children. The microbiota of the first-pass meconium, which forms before birth, represents the first gut microbiota that is easily available for research and little is known about any relationship with allergic disease development.

Objective: We investigated whether the bacterial composition of the first-pass meconium is associated with the development of allergic diseases before 4 years of age.

Methods: Prospective birth cohort study. Bacterial composition of first-pass meconium was analysed using bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Atopic and allergic diseases were evaluated via online survey or telephone to age 4 years, based on the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire.

Results: During a 6-week period in 2014, 312 children were born at the Central Finland Central Hospital. Meconium was collected from 212 at a mean of 8-hour age. Outcome data at 4 years were available for 177 (83%) children, and 159 of these had sufficient amplification of bacterial DNA in meconium. Meconium microbiota composition, including diversity indices and relative abundances of the main phyla and genera, was not associated with subsequent atopic eczema, wheezing or cow’s milk allergy. Principal components analysis did not identify any clustering of the meconium microbiomes of children with respect to wheezing or cow’s milk allergy.

Conclusions: We found no evidence that gut microbiota composition of first-pass meconium is associated with atopic manifestations to age 4 years. However, larger studies are needed to fully exclude a relationship.

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Series: Clinical & experimental allergy
ISSN: 0954-7894
ISSN-E: 1365-2222
ISSN-L: 0954-7894
Volume: 52
Issue: 5
Pages: 684 - 696
DOI: 10.1111/cea.14117
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: The Finnish Medical Foundation; the Pediatric Research Foundation; the Foundation for Pediatric Research; the Emil Aaltonen Foundation; the Alma and K. A. Snellman Foundation, Oulu, Finland and the Academy of Finland.
Dataset Reference: The raw Ion Torrent data of meconium and follow-up fecal samples were deposited in the NCBI-SRA with the accession number -SRP069890.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.