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Matern Health Neonatol Perinatol


Background: Mounting evidence suggests both vitamin D and the early life gut microbiome influence childhood health outcomes. However, little is known about how these two important exposures are related. We aimed to examine associations between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels during pregnancy or at delivery (cord blood) and infant gut microbiota.

Methods: Maternal and cord blood 25[OH]D levels were assessed in a sample of pregnant women. Compositional analyses adjusted for race were run on the gut microbiota of their offspring at 1 and 6 months of age.

Results: Mean prenatal 25(OH)D level was 25.04 ± 11.62 ng/mL and mean cord blood 25(OH)D level was 10.88 ± 6.77 ng/mL. Increasing prenatal 25(OH)D level was significantly associated with decreased richness (p = 0.028) and diversity (p = 0.012) of the gut microbiota at 1 month of age. Both prenatal and cord 25(OH)D were significantly associated with 1 month microbiota composition. A total of 6 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were significantly associated with prenatal 25(OH)D level (four positively and two negatively) while 11 OTUs were significantly associated with cord 25(OH)D (10 positively and one negatively). Of these, OTU 93 (Acinetobacter) and OTU 210 (Corynebacterium), were consistently positively associated with maternal and cord 25(OH)D; OTU 64 (Ruminococcus gnavus) was positively associated with prenatal 25(OH)D but negatively associated with cord 25(OH)D.

Conclusions: Prenatal maternal and cord blood 25(OH)D levels are associated with the early life gut microbiota. Future studies are needed to understand how vitamin D and the microbiome may interact to influence child health.

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