A new study identifies a potential microbiome signature that is associated with colic (Pediatrics 2013; 131: e550-58). Thanks to Mike Hart for this reference.
With new technology, the microbiome’s role in many gastrointestinal conditions is being unraveled. For colic, there has been concern about that an abnormal microbiome has been contributing to the pathophysiology. On a personal level, I have had an interest in this subject for quite a while:
- Hochman JA, Simms C: “The role of small bowel bacterial overgrowth in infantile colic“J Pediatr 2005; 147: 410-411 (Letter to Editor).
In this current study, the authors serially followed the microbiome infants in a prospective longitudinal project. Nine stool specimens were obtained from each infant. Four were obtained in the first month at day of life 2, 7, 14, and 28 days. Five were obtained at 3 to 5 months. All specimens were stored at -20°C until analyzed by the “Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip).” The HITChip microarray was considered satisfactory if 2 independent hybridizations had >95% correlation. These microarrays “showed a dynamic range of >10,000-fold and >200 independent microarray readouts were used.”
Of 160 healthy term infants, the authors identified colic in 25% who averaged >180 minutes of crying per day over a four-day period. Then, the authors selected the 12 infants who cried the most and compared them to the 12 infants who cried the least.
- In the infants who were highly similar, the “infants with colic showed a significantly reduced microbiota diversity at 14 and 28 days of life.” Proteobacteria, including Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, were increased with more than a doubled abundance. Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli were decreased in colicy infants.
- At about 3-4 months of age, the colic group had a similar microbiome as the non-colicy group.
- The authors speculate that proteobacteria might cause inflammation and may displace helpful bacteria. Certain butyrate-producing bacteria like Butyrivibrio crossotus and Coprococcus estates were more commonly present in the non-colicy group. The authors note that butyrate reduces the pain sensation in adults.
These results could explain why administration of probiotics (and possibly antibiotics) can result in a decrease in colic symptoms.
Related blog entries:
- Microbiome in pediatric ulcerative colitis | gutsandgrowth
- Mechanisms of irritable bowel syndrome | gutsandgrowth
- Eat your veggies…if you don’t want to get sick | gutsandgrowth
- Why are we seeing so many more cases | gutsandgrowth
- How helpful are probiotics? | gutsandgrowth
- -Pediatrics 2010; 126: e526. Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of Lactobacillus reuteri.
- -J Pediatr 2009; 155:823. Increased calprotectin in colicy infants. n=36. editorial pg 772.
- -J Pediatr 2009; 154: 514-20. Colic and reflux. (Orenstein et al), & 475 (editorial -Putnam). PPIs (lansoprazole) do not help colicy Sx in infants c GERD. n=162. Increased resp infections in pts on PPIs. 44% response in Rx & control group.
- -J Pediatr 2008; 152: 801. Probiotic helped reduce colic sx in 30 preterm infants, Lactobacillus reuteri
- -Pediatrics 2007; 119; e124. Probiotics reduced colic in breastfed babies more than simethicone. n=83, lactobacillus reuteri, 10-8th power per day. Decreased crying 18 minutes per day at 1 week compared to simethicone & by 94 minutes/day at 4 weeks (95% response vs 7% of simethicone)
- -Pediatrics 2005; 116: e709. Low-allergen maternal diet was helpful.
- -Arch Pediatr Adol Med 2002; 1183 &1172. lack of sequelae on maternal mental health.
- -Arch Pediatr Adol Med 2002; 156: 1123-1128. colic 24% of infants, breastfeeding did not help.
- -Pediatrics 2002; 109: 797-805. carbohydrate malabsorption with breath testing in colicy infants, n=30. 2 hour fasting period.
- -Arch Dis Child 2001; 84: 138-41. Lack of benefit (vs placebo) of chiropractic manipulation for colic, n=100. 86 completed study. 70% improved vs 60% in placebo.
- -JPGN 2001; 33:110-111. Lack of assoc c GER
- -Pediatrics 2000; 106: 1349. Use of hydrolysate decreased crying by 63mins/day
- -Pediatrics 2001; 108; 878-882. No assoc between colic and markers of atopy/asthma/allergy.