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Journal Article

Gut microbiota composition is associated with newborn functional brain connectivity and behavioral temperament


Grossmann,  Tobias
Data Science Institute, Columbia University in the City of New York, NY, USA;
Max Planck Research Group Early Social Development, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kelsey, C., Prescott, S., McCulloch, J. A., Trinchieri, G., Valladares, T., Dreisbach, C., et al. (2021). Gut microbiota composition is associated with newborn functional brain connectivity and behavioral temperament. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 91, 472-486. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2020.11.003.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-6122-5
The gut microbiome appears to play an important role in human health and disease. However, only little is known about how variability in the gut microbiome contributes to individual differences during early and sensitive stages of brain and behavioral development. The current study examined the link between gut microbiome, brain, and behavior in newborn infants (N = 63; M [age] = 25 days). Infant gut microbiome diversity was measured from stool samples using metagenomic sequencing, infant functional brain network connectivity was assessed using a resting state functional near infrared spectroscopy (rs-fNIRS) procedure and infant behavioral temperament was assessed using parental report. Our results show that gut microbiota composition is linked to individual variability in brain network connectivity, which in turn mediated individual differences in behavioral temperament, specifically negative emotionality, among infants. Furthermore, virulence factors, possibly indexing pathogenic activity were associated with differences in brain network connectivity linked to negative emotionality. These findings provide novel insights into the early developmental origins of the gut microbiome-brain axis and its association with variability in important behavioral traits. This suggests that the gut microbiome is an important biological factor to consider when studying human development and health.