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Last Posted: Jan 24, 2023
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How our microbiome is shaped by family, friends and even neighbours.
Callaway Ewen et al. Nature 2023 1

People living in the same household share more than just a roof (and pints of milk). Be they family or flatmate, housemates tend to have the same microbes colonizing their bodies, and the longer the cohabitation, the more similar these microbiomes become. The conclusion — based on a new study of the gut and mouth microbiomes of thousands of people from around the world1 — raises the possibility that diseases linked to microbiome dysfunction, including cancer, diabetes and obesity, could be partly transmissible.

The next giant step for microbes.
et al. Nature biotechnology 2023 1 (1) 1

A microbiome therapy is approved by the FDA for treatment of Clostridioides difficile. What’s next? Our gut microbiomes are complex, consisting of hundreds of bacterial species. These bacteria influence not only the activity of our gut, but also our neural development and response to drug treatments. It has proven difficult to determine the links between the microbiome and human health, and until recently, no microbiome-based therapies were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency.

The person-to-person transmission landscape of the gut and oral microbiomes
MV Colomer et al, Nature, January 18, 2023

Here, capitalizing on more than 9,700 human metagenomes and computational strain-level profiling, we detected extensive bacterial strain sharing across individuals (more than 10 million instances) with distinct mother-to-infant, intra-household and intra-population transmission patterns. Mother-to-infant gut microbiome transmission was considerable and stable during infancy (around 50% of the same strains among shared species (strain-sharing rate)) and remained detectable at older ages. By contrast, the transmission of the oral microbiome occurred largely horizontally and was enhanced by the duration of cohabitation.

Mode of delivery modulates the intestinal microbiota and impacts the response to vaccination.
de Koff Emma M et al. Nature communications 2022 11 (1) 6638

We assess the association between mode of delivery, gut microbiota development in the first year of life, and mucosal antigen-specific antibody responses against pneumococcal vaccination in 101 infants at age 12 months and against meningococcal vaccination in 66 infants at age 18 months. Birth by vaginal delivery is associated with higher antibody responses against both vaccines. Relative abundances of vaginal birth-associated Bifidobacterium and Escherichia coli in the first weeks of life are positively associated with anti-pneumococcal antibody responses, and relative abundance of E. coli in the same period is also positively associated with anti-meningococcal antibody responses.

Disclaimer: Articles listed in the Public Health Genomics and Precision Health Knowledge Base are selected by the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics to provide current awareness of the literature and news. Inclusion in the update does not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does it imply endorsement of the article's methods or findings. CDC and DHHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinion, findings and conclusions expressed by the original authors of items included in the update, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS.