The intestinal microbiota undergoes active remodeling in the first 6 to 18 months of life, during which time the characteristics of the adult microbiota are developed. This process is strongly influenced by the early diet and enteric pathogens. Enteric infections and malnutrition early in life may favor microbiota dysbiosis and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, resulting in intestinal barrier dysfunction and translocation of intestinal bacterial products, ultimately leading to low-grade, chronic, subclinical systemic inflammation. The leaky gut-derived low-grade systemic inflammation may have profound consequences on the gut-liver-brain axis, compromising normal growth, metabolism, and cognitive development. This review examines recent data suggesting that early-life enteric infections that lead to intestinal barrier disruption may shift the intestinal microbiota toward chronic systemic inflammation and subsequent impaired cognitive development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics