Characterizing the composition of the pediatric gut microbiome: A systematic review
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The consortium of trillions of microorganisms that live inside the human gut are integral to health. Little has been done to collate and characterize the microbiome of children. A systematic review was undertaken to address this gap (PROSPERO ID: CRD42018109599). MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched using the keywords: “healthy preadolescent children” and “gut microbiome” to 31 August 2018. Of the 815 journal articles, 42 met the inclusion criteria. The primary outcome was the relative abundance of bacteria at the phylum, family, and genus taxonomic ranks. α-diversity, short chain fatty acid concentrations, diet, 16S rRNA sequencing region, and geographical location were documented. The preadolescent gut microbiome is dominated at the phylum level by Firmicutes (weighted overall average relative abundance = 51.1%) and Bacteroidetes (36.0%); genus level by Bacteroides (16.0%), Prevotella (8.69%), Faecalibacterium (7.51%), and Bifidobacterium (5.47%). Geographic location and 16S rRNA sequencing region were independently associated with microbial proportions. There was limited consensus between studies that reported α-diversity and short chain fatty acids. Broadly speaking, participants from nonWestern locations, who were less likely to follow a Westernized dietary pattern, had higher αdiversity and SCFA concentrations. Confirmatory studies will increase the understanding of the composition and functional capacity of the preadolescent gut microbiome.
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