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Title: Association of indoor dust microbiota with cognitive function and behavior in preschool-aged children
Authors: DOCKX, Yinthe 
Taeubel, Martin
PEUSENS, Martien 
SLEURS, Hanne 
WITTERS, Katrien 
PLUSQUIN, Michelle 
Valkonen, Maria
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: BMC
Source: Microbiome, 11 (1)
Abstract: Background:Childhood cognitive development depends on neuroimmune interactions. Immunomodulation by early-life microbial exposure may influence neuropsychological function. In this study, we investigate the association between residential indoor microbiota and cognition and behavior among preschoolers. Results:Indoor-settled dust bacterial and fungal characteristics were assessed using 16S and ITS amplicon sequencing (microbial diversity) and qPCR measurements (microbial loads). Child behavior was assessed using four scales: peer relationship, emotional, conduct, and hyperactivity was assessed by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Cognitive function was assessed using four tasks of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) software. The first two tasks were designed to assess attention and psychomotor speed (Motor Screening (MOT) and Big/Little Circle (BLC)) and the last two to evaluate the child's visual recognition/working memory (Spatial Span (SSP) and Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS)). Among the 172 included children (age 4-6 years), we observed a 51% (95%CI;75%;9%) lower odds of children scoring not normal for hyperactivity and a decrease of 3.20% (95%CI, -6.01%; -0.30%) in BLC response time, for every IQR increase in fungal Shannon diversity. Contrarily, microbial loads were directly associated with SDQ scales and response time. For example, a 2-fold increase in Gram-positive bacterial load was associated with 70% (95%CI 18%; 156%) higher odds of scoring not normal for hyperactivity and an increase of 5.17% (95%CI 0.87%; 9.65%) in DMS response time. Conclusions:Our findings show that early-life exposure to diverse indoor fungal communities is associated with better behavioral and cognitive outcomes, whereas higher indoor microbial load was associated with worse outcomes.
Notes: Nawrot, TS (corresponding author), Hasselt Univ, Ctr Environm Sci, Agoralaan Bldg D, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium.
Keywords: Microbiota;Indoor;Diversity;Childhood;Cognition;Behavior
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ISSN: 2049-2618
e-ISSN: 2049-2618
DOI: 10.1186/s40168-022-01406-9
ISI #: 000907168000001
Rights: The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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