Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Development of the gut microbiome and the risk of asthma, eczema and allergy

Jakob Stokholm, M.D., Ph.D.


BACKGROUND: The beginning of our lives is a critical period for susceptibility to environmental exposures and childhood asthma, eczema and allergy presumably arise from complex gene‐microbial interactions in early infancy.
The underlying biological pathways from environmental exposure to clinical disease presentation are however poorly understood.

GAP: We propose to investigate whether early-life microbial composition in the gut of healthy children is an intermediary player leading to disease later in life.

HYPOTHESIS: The human gut microbiome plays a fundamental role in later development of asthma, eczema and allergic sensitization.
Environmental factors such as birth by cesarean section affect later disease development in the child by skewing the early gut microbiome and can possibly be prevented.

METHODS: The foundation of the project is data from the COPSAC2010 clinical birth cohort of 700 children, comprising extensive longitudinal microbial samples and clinical follow-up through the first years of life.
Fecal samples from all children have been characterized by 16S rRNA sequencing at three different time points (1 week, 1 month, and 1 year) and the children have been followed to age 5 years so far and diagnosed prospectively for asthma, eczema and allergic sensitization.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT: The project may in the future allow us to develop an innovative preventive ‘next generation probiotic’ intervention strategy of beneficial bacteria to be administered to the new-born child and if successful, this strategy may be pivotal in laying the foundation for targeted, efficient microbiota manipulation in groups at risk after validation in randomized clinical trials.

The study is a translational research program bridging existing high quality clinical birth cohort data with unique microbiological laboratory and analytical expertise to build a strong interdisciplinary research co-operation.

Supervising Institution:

Martin Blaser

Project Location:
United States, Denmark

Award Amount: