Eczema in infants linked to composition of gut bacteria

7 February 2013

Infants with eczema have a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts and the types of bacteria present are also more typical of adult gut microbes than for those without eczema, finds a study in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Microbiology [1].

Eczema is a chronic inflammation of the epidermis. The gut bacteria of children with or without eczema were genetically analysed when they were six and 18 months old using the Human Intestinal Tract chip (HITChip) made by Agilent.

At six months all the infants had the same types of bacteria but by 18 months old the children with eczema had more of a type of bacteria  normally associated with adults (Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa) while the healthy children had a greater amount of Bacteroidetes.

MSc Lotta Nylund from University of Turku, Finland, who led the project explained, “The composition of bacteria in a child’s gut depends on its environment and the food it eats. You would expect that as a child’s diet changes so will the bacteria present. The number of bifidobacteria naturally falls with age and in total we found 21 groups of bacteria which changed in this time period. However it is the early change towards adult-type bacteria which seems to be a risk factor for eczema.”


1. Nylund L, et al. Microarray analysis reveals marked intestinal microbiota aberrancy in infants having eczema compared to healthy children in at-risk for atopic disease. BMC Microbiology, 2013, 13:12 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-12.


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