The microbiome in early life: Implications for health outcomes

Sabrina Tamburini, Nan Shen, Han Chih Wu, Jose C. Clemente

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

704 Scopus citations


Recent studies have characterized how host genetics, prenatal environment and delivery mode can shape the newborn microbiome at birth. Following this, postnatal factors, such as antibiotic treatment, diet or environmental exposure, further modulate the development of the infant's microbiome and immune system, and exposure to a variety of microbial organisms during early life has long been hypothesized to exert a protective effect in the newborn. Furthermore, epidemiological studies have shown that factors that alter bacterial communities in infants during childhood increase the risk for several diseases, highlighting the importance of understanding early-life microbiome composition. In this review, we describe how prenatal and postnatal factors shape the development of both the microbiome and the immune system. We also discuss the prospects of microbiome-mediated therapeutics and the need for more effective approaches that can reconfigure bacterial communities from pathogenic to homeostatic configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 7 Jul 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'The microbiome in early life: Implications for health outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this