To provide a comprehensive analysis of the fecal microbiota in infants with colic, as compared with control infants, during their first 100 days of life.
Microbial DNA of >200 samples from 12 infants with colic and 12 age-matched control infants was extracted and hybridized to a phylogenetic microarray.
Microbiota diversity gradually increased after birth only in the control group; moreover, in the first weeks, the diversity of the colic group was significantly lower than that of the control group. The stability of the successive samples also appeared to be significantly lower in the infants with colic for the first weeks. Further analyses revealed which bacterial groups were responsible for colic-related differences in microbiota at age 1 or 2 weeks, the earliest ages with significant differences. Proteobacteria were significantly increased in infants with colic compared with control infants, with a relative abundance that was more than twofold. In contrast, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli were significantly reduced in infants with colic. Moreover, the colic phenotype correlated positively with specific groups of proteobacteria, including bacteria related to Escherichia, Klebsiella, Serratia, Vibrio, Yersinia, and Pseudomonas, but negatively with bacteria belonging to the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes phyla, the latter of which includes some lactobacilli and canonical groups known to produce butyrate and lactate.
The results indicate the presence of microbial signatures in the first weeks of life in infants who later develop colic. These microbial signatures may be used to understand the excessive crying. The results offer opportunities for early diagnostics as well as for developing specific therapies.