Environmental Enteric Dysfunction and the Fecal Microbiota in Malawian Children.

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Dec 12. pii: 16-0617. [Epub ahead of print]


Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is often measured with a dual sugar absorption test and implicated as a causative factor in childhood stunting. Disturbances in the gut microbiota are hypothesized to be a mechanism by which EED is exacerbated, although this supposition lacks support. We performed 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing of fecal samples from 81 rural Malawian children with varying degrees of EED to determine which bacterial taxa were associated with EED. At the phyla level, Proteobacteria abundance is reduced with severe EED. Among bacterial genera, Megasphaera, Mitsuokella, and Sutterella were higher in EED and Succinivibrio, Klebsiella, and Clostridium_XI were lower in EED. Bacterial diversity did not vary with the extent of EED. Though EED is a condition that is typically believed to affect the proximal small bowel, and our focus was on stool, our data do suggest that there are intraluminal microbial differences that reflect, or plausibly lead to, EED.


Ordiz MI, Stephenson K, Agapova S, Wylie KM, Maleta K, Martin J, Trehan I, Tarr PI, Manary MJ

Institute Authors

Kristine Wylie, Ph.D., John Martin