January 2020: Borenstein's study on Cystic Fibrosis in Nature Medicine
New study on Cystic Fibrosis published in Nature Medicine by Prof. Elhanan Borenstein, Edmond J. Safra faculty fellow.
Infants with Cystic fibrosis (CF) often suffer from nutrient malabsorption due to inadequate pancreatic digestive enzyme, ultimately resulting in poor growth during the first years of life. This growth failure may be mediated, at least in part, by the gut microbiota.
This hypothesis was investigated in a recent study published in Nature Medicine by Prof. Elhanan Borenstein, Edmond J. Safra faculty fellow (CS and Medicine), and collaborators from the University of Washington, Profs. Lucas Hoffman and Samuel Miller.
The study profiled the composition of the gut microbiota of infants with CF and of healthy infants. Analyzing these data revealed compositional shifts in the microbiota associated with CF and with poor growth. Moreover, using machine learning, the researchers showed that the maturation of the microbiota from infants with CF is delayed compared with that of healthy infants, and similarly, that the microbiota of infants with CF who suffer from growth failure is delayed compared to that of infant with CF who exhibit normal growth. These findings suggest a mechanistic hypothesis concerning the relationship between CF, poor growth, and the gut microbiota, and could inform efforts for microbiota-based therapeutic strategies.