Published: 23 June 2022

Authors: Gözde Gürdeniz, Madeleine Ernst, Daniela Rago, Min Kim, Julie Courraud, Jakob Stokholm, Klaus Bønnelykke, Anders Björkbom, Urvish Trivedi, Søren J. Sørensen, Susanne Brix, David Hougaard, Morten Rasmussen, Arieh S. Cohen, Hans Bisgaard, Bo Chawes

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 206


    Background Birth by caesarean section is linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear.

    Objective To elucidate the link between birth by caesarean section and asthma using newborn metabolomic profiles and integrating early-life gut microbiome data and cord blood immunology.

    Methods We investigated the influence of caesarean section on liquid chromatography mass spectrometry metabolomic profiles of dried blood spots from newborns of the two independent Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood cohorts, i.e. COPSAC2010 (n=677) and COPSAC2000 (n=387). We assessed the associations between the caesarean section metabolic profile, gut microbiome data and frequency of cord blood regulatory T-cells (Tregs) at 1 week of age.

    Results In COPSAC2010, a partial least square discriminant analysis model showed that children born by caesarean section versus natural delivery had different metabolic profiles (area under the curve (AUC)=0.77, p=2.2×10−16), which was replicated in COPSAC2000 (AUC=0.66, p=1.2×10−5). The metabolic profile of caesarean section was significantly associated with an increased risk of asthma at school age in both COPSAC2010 (p=0.03) and COPSAC2000 (p=0.005). Caesarean section was associated with lower abundance of tryptophan, bile acid and phenylalanine metabolites, indicative of a perturbed gut microbiota. Furthermore, gut bacteria dominating after natural delivery, i.e. Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides were correlated with caesarean section-discriminative microbial metabolites, suggesting maternal microbial transmission during birth regulating the newborn's metabolism. Finally, the caesarean section metabolic profile was associated with frequency of cord blood Tregs.

    Conclusions These findings propose that caesarean section programmes the risk of childhood asthma through perturbed immune responses and gut microbial colonisation patterns reflected in the blood metabolome at birth.

    Link to abstract

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