Image_3_Altered Gut Microbiota and Compositional Changes in Firmicutes and Proteobacteria in Mexican Undernourished and Obese Children.TIF

<p>Mexico is experiencing an epidemiological and nutritional transition period, and Mexican children are often affected by the double burden of malnutrition, which includes undernutrition (13.6% of children) and obesity (15.3%). The gut microbiome is a complex and metabolically active community of organisms that influences the host phenotype. Although previous studies have shown alterations in the gut microbiota in undernourished children, the affected bacterial communities remain unknown. The present study investigated and compared the bacterial richness and diversity of the fecal microbiota in groups of undernourished (n = 12), obese (n = 12), and normalweight (control) (n = 12) Mexican school-age children. We used next-generation sequencing to analyze the V3–V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, and we also investigated whether there were correlations between diet and relevant bacteria. The undernourished and obese groups showed lower bacterial richness and diversity than the normalweight group. Enterotype 1 correlated positively with dietary fat intake in the obese group and with carbohydrate intake in the undernourished group. The results showed that undernourished children had significantly higher levels of bacteria in the Firmicutes phylum and in the Lachnospiraceae family than obese children, while the Proteobacteria phylum was overrepresented in the obese group. The level of Lachnospiraceae correlated negatively with energy consumption and positively with leptin level. This is the first study to examine the gut microbial community structure in undernourished and obese Mexican children living in low-income neighborhoods. Our analysis revealed distinct taxonomic profiles for undernourished and obese children.</p>