Asthma: Undoing millions of years of coevolution in early life?

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Science Translational Medicine  30 Sep 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 307, pp. 307fs39
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad2741


  • Fig. 1 The cycle of healthy microbiota transmission and host development.

    In utero, introduction to microbiota is minimal in health, but exposures to girls and mothers that affect microbiota composition before intergenerational transmission are important. During birthing, practices that eliminate or minimize acquisition of vaginal-rectal microbiota, including C-section, early/extensive washing, and antibiotic exposures, may have costs. Human milk is designed for nurturing the transmitted microbes during nursing, often without competition for substrate between favored microbes and host. Formula feeding means loss of this function and substitution with substrates that have alternative selective properties. The early-life microbiota during infancy and youth, especially but not exclusively in the GI tract, interacts with human cells and forms part of the developmental matrix, affecting signals to lymphoid organs, metabolic organs (including intestine, liver, muscle, and adipocytes), and the central nervous system through chemical (neurotransmitter) signals and neural pathways. Lastly, girls become women, preparing for the next generation.


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