The gut microbiota has been shown to play diverse roles in human health and disease although the underlying mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. Large cohort studies can provide further understanding into inter-individual differences, with more precise characterization of the pathways by which the gut microbiota influences human physiology and disease processes. Here, we aimed to profile the stool microbiome of children and adults from two population-based cohort studies, comprising 2,111 children in the age-range of 9 to 12 years (the Generation R Study) and 1,427 adult individuals in the range of 46 to 88 years of age (the Rotterdam Study). For the two cohorts, 16S rRNA gene profile datasets derived from the Dutch population were generated. The comparison of the two cohorts showed that children had significantly lower gut microbiome diversity. Furthermore, we observed higher relative abundances of genus Bacteroides in children and higher relative abundances of genus Blautia in adults. Predicted functional metagenome analysis showed an overrepresentation of the glycan degradation pathways, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and folate (vitamin B9) biosynthesis pathways in children. In contrast, the gut microbiome of adults showed higher abundances of carbohydrate metabolism pathways, beta-lactam resistance, thiamine (vitamin B1) and pantothenic (vitamin B5) biosynthesis pathways. A predominance of catabolic pathways in children (valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation) as compared to biosynthetic pathways in adults (valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis) suggests a functional microbiome switch to the latter in adult individuals. Overall, we identified compositional and functional differences in gut microbiome between children and adults in a population-based setting. These microbiome profiles can serve as reference for future studies on specific human disease susceptibility in childhood, adulthood and specific diseased populations.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-57734-z, hdl.handle.net/1765/124165
Journal Scientific Reports
Citation
Radjabzadeh, D. (Djawad), Boer, C.G, Beth, S.A. (Sanne A.), van der Wal, P. (Pelle), Kiefte-de Jong, J.C, Jansen, M.A.E, … Kraaij, R. (Robert). (2020). Diversity, compositional and functional differences between gut microbiota of children and adults. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-57734-z