Anemia in infancy is associated with alterations in systemic metabolism and microbial structure and function in a sex-specific manner: An observational study

Shannon McClorry, Nelly Zavaleta, Alejandro Llanos, Martin Casapía, Bo Lönnerdal, Carolyn M. Slupsky

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

18 Citas (Scopus)


Background: Anemia is a term that describes low hemoglobin concentrations and can result from micronutrient deficiencies, infection, or low birth weight. Early-life anemia, particularly iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) is associated with several negative metabolic, developmental, and cognitive outcomes, some of which persist into adulthood. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate alterations in systemic metabolism and fecal microbial diversity and functionality associated with anemia and IDA in male and female infants from Iquitos, Peru. Design: Cross-sectional stool and serum samples were collected from 95 infants (53 boys and 42 girls) at 12 mo of age. The fecal microbiome was assessed by using 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, and the fecal and serum metabolomes were quantified using 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance. Results: The prevalence of anemia was 64%, with a greater proportion of anemia in male infants attributed to iron deficiency. Metabolically, anemia was associated with decreased concentrations of tricarboxylic acid cycle metabolites in both sexes (males: succinate, P = 0.031; females: fumarate, P = 0.028). In addition, anemic male infants exhibited significantly lower serum concentrations of several amino acids compared with nonanemic male infants. Although no specific structural or functional differences in the microbiota were observed with anemia in general, likely due the heterogeneity of its etiology, IDA affected the microbiome both structurally and functionally. Specifically, the abundance of butyrate-producing bacteria was lower in IDA subjects of both sexes than in nonanemic, non-iron-deficient subjects of the same sex (females: Butyricicoccus, P = 0.041; males: Coprococcus, P = 0.010; Roseburia, P = 0.027). IDA male infants had higher concentrations of 4-hydroxyphenyllactate (P < 0.001) and putrescine (P = 0.042) than those without IDA, whereas IDA female infants exhibited higher concentrations of leucine (P = 0.011) and valine (P = 0.003). Conclusions: Sexually dimorphic differences associated with anemia and IDA are suggestive of greater mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in male infants compared with female infants, and alterations in microbial structure and function may further contribute. Differences in metabolic pathways associated with anemia and IDA in each sex point to potential mechanisms for the associated lasting cognitive deficits. This trial is registered at as NCT03377777.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)1238-1248
Número de páginas11
PublicaciónAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
EstadoPublicada - 1 dic. 2018
Publicado de forma externa


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