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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Kohei Hasegawa, Phone: 617-726-5276, Email: khasegawa1@partners.org

See publication for full list of author contributions.

The authors thank Pedro A. Piedra, MD (Baylor College of Medicine), Ashley F. Sullivan, MS, MPH (Massachusetts General Hospital), the site investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Kosair Children’s Hospital, and all of the study families for their contributions to the study.

The institutional review board at each of the participating hospitals approved the study. Written informed consent was obtained from the parent or guardian.

Dr. Mansbach has provided bronchiolitis-related consultation for Regeneron. Drs. Ajami and Petrosino own shares at Diversigen Inc., a microbiome research company.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


Research Funding:

This study was supported by the Grants U01 AI-087881, R01 AI-114552, R01 AI-108588, R01 AI-127507, R21 HL-129909, and UG3 OD-023253 from the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD).


  • Bacteroides
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Infants
  • Microbiome
  • Sphingolipids

Sphingolipid metabolism potential in fecal microbiome and bronchiolitis in infants: A case-control study


Journal Title:

BMC Research Notes


Volume 10


, Pages 325-325

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objective: Emerging evidence demonstrated that the structure of fecal microbiome is associated with the likelihood of bronchiolitis in infants. However, no study has examined functional profiles of fecal microbiome in infants with bronchiolitis. In this context, we conducted a case-control study. As a part of multicenter prospective study, we collected stool samples from 40 infants hospitalized with bronchiolitis (cases). We concurrently enrolled 115 age-matched healthy controls. Results: First, by applying 16S rRNA gene sequencing to these 155 fecal samples, we identified the taxonomic profiles of fecal microbiome. Next, based on the taxonomy data, we inferred the functional capabilities of fecal microbiome and tested for differences in the functional capabilities between cases and controls. Overall, the median age was 3 months and 45% were female. Among 274 metabolic pathways surveyed, there were significant differences between bronchiolitis cases and healthy controls for 37 pathways, including lipid metabolic pathways (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.05). Particularly, the fecal microbiome of bronchiolitis cases had consistently higher abundances of gene function related to the sphingolipid metabolic pathways compared to that of controls (FDR < 0.05). These pathways were more abundant in infants with Bacteroides-dominant microbiome profile compared to the others (FDR < 0.001). On the basis of the predicted metagenome in this case-control study, we found significant differences in the functional potential of fecal microbiome between infants with bronchiolitis and healthy controls. Although causal inferences remain premature, our data suggest a potential link between the bacteria-derived metabolites, modulations of host immune response, and development of bronchiolitis.

Copyright information:

© 2017 The Author(s).

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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