Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics

The Significance of the Enteric Microbiome on the Development of Childhood Disease: A Review of Prebiotic and Probiotic Therapies in Disorders of Childhood

Submit a Paper

Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics 2016:10 91-107


Published on 09 Oct 2016

DOI: 10.4137/CMPed.S38338

Further metadata provided in PDF

Sign up for email alerts to receive notifications of new articles published in Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics


Recent studies have highlighted the fact that the enteric microbiome, the trillions of microbes that inhabit the human digestive tract, has a significant effect on health and disease. Methods for manipulating the enteric microbiome, particularly through probiotics and microbial ecosystem transplantation, have undergone some study in clinical trials. We review some of the evidence for microbiome alteration in relation to childhood disease and discuss the clinical trials that have examined the manipulation of the microbiome in an effort to prevent or treat childhood disease with a primary focus on probiotics, prebiotics, and/or synbiotcs

(ie, probiotics + prebiotics). Studies show that alterations in the microbiome may be a consequence of events occurring during infancy and/or childhood such as prematurity, C-sections, and nosocomial infections. In addition, certain childhood diseases have been associated with microbiome alterations, namely necrotizing enterocolitis, infantile colic, asthma, atopic disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, malnutrition, mood/anxiety disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. Treatment studies suggest that probiotics are potentially protective against the development of some of these diseases. Timing and duration of treatment, the optimal probiotic strain(s), and factors that may alter the composition and function of the microbiome are still in need of further research. Other treatments such as prebiotics, fecal microbial transplantation, and antibiotics have limited evidence. Future translational work, in vitro models, long-term and follow-up studies, and guidelines for the composition and viability of probiotic and microbial therapies need to be developed. Overall, there is promising evidence that manipulating the microbiome with probiotics early in life can help prevent or reduce the severity of some childhood diseases, but further research is needed to elucidate biological mechanisms and determine optimal treatments.




BibTex citation   (BIBDESK, LATEX)


Video Abstract

Quick Links

New article and journal news notification services