The infant gut virome is associated with preschool asthma risk independently of bacteria

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Bacteriophage (also known as phage) communities that inhabit the gut have a major effect on the structure and functioning of bacterial populations, but their roles and association with health and disease in early life remain unknown. Here, we analyze the gut virome of 647 children aged 1 year from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood2010 (COPSAC2010) mother–child cohort, all deeply phenotyped from birth and with longitudinally assessed asthma diagnoses. Specific temperate gut phage taxa were found to be associated with later development of asthma. In particular, the joint abundances of 19 caudoviral families were found to significantly contribute to this association. Combining the asthma-associated virome and bacteriome signatures had additive effects on asthma risk, implying an independent virome–asthma association. Moreover, the virome-associated asthma risk was modulated by the host TLR9 rs187084 gene variant, suggesting a direct interaction between phages and the host immune system. Further studies will elucidate whether phages, alongside bacteria and host genetics, can be used as preclinical biomarkers for asthma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Medicine
Volume30
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
ISSN1078-8956
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

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