Severe gut microbiota dysbiosis caused by malnourishment can be partly restored during 3 weeks of refeeding with fortified corn-soy-blend in a piglet model of childhood malnutrition

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Background: Childhood malnutrition is a global health challenge associated with multiple adverse consequences, including delayed maturation of the gut microbiota (GM) which might induce long-term immune dysfunction and stunting. To understand GM dynamics during malnutrition and subsequent re-feeding, we used a piglet model with a malnutrition-induced phenotype similar to humans. Piglets were weaned at the age of 4 weeks, fed a nutritionally optimal diet for 1 week post-weaning before being fed a pure maize diet for 7 weeks to induce symptoms of malnutrition. After malnourishment, the piglets were re-fed using different regimes all based on general food aid products, namely Corn-Soy blend (CSB) fortified with phosphorus (CSB+), CSB fortified with phosphorus and skim milk powder (CSB++) and CSB fortified with phosphorus and added whey permeate (CSB + P). Results: Malnourishment had profound impact on the GM of the piglets leading to a less diverse GM dominated especially by Akkermansia spp. as determined by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. All three re-feeding regimes partly restored GM, leading to a more diverse GM compositionally closer to that of well-nourished piglets. This effect was even more pronounced for CSB++ compared to CSB+ and CSB + P. Conclusion: The GM of piglets were profoundly disturbed by malnourishment resulting in significantly increased abundance of Akkermansia spp. CSB++ may have superior effect on recovering GM diversity compared to the two other food aid products used in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number277
JournalBMC Microbiology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, Gut microbiota, Malnutrition, Piglets, Re-feeding diet

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