A Child's urine is not sterile: A pilot study evaluating the Pediatric Urinary Microbiome. Journal Article

Authors: Storm, DW; Copp, HL; Halverson, TM; Du, J; Juhr, D; Wolfe, AJ
Article Title: A Child's urine is not sterile: A pilot study evaluating the Pediatric Urinary Microbiome.
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: A bladder microbiome (urobiome) exists in adults. Data supports the effects of the adult urobiome on urinary tract health with associations between dysbiotic urobiomes and lower urinary tract disorders. Understanding urobiome origin is important since other microbiomes establish around birth and microbiome alterations are linked to disease development. However, the pediatric urobiome has not been well studied. OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine the age when the urobiome develops, compare the pediatric urobiome to microbiomes of adjacent urogenital niches, and compare the urobiomes between boys and girls and across age groups. STUDY DESIGN: Seventy-four children less than 18 years of age without recent antibiotic exposure were recruited, including 48 males and 26 females, aged 2 weeks to 209 months of age. Transurethral catheterized urine samples and samples from the perineum, urethra, vagina, and foreskin were collected. Specimens were assessed using the expanded quantitative urine culture protocol and by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Dada2 was used to profile microbial compositions, and BLCA was used to identify microbial taxa. RESULTS: Bacteria were detected in 90.5% of urine samples and identified in children as young as 2 weeks of age. Microbial communities and compositions of the female bladder and other urogenital niches (urethra, perineum, and vagina) differed significantly by age. Lactobacillus predominated the bladder, urethral, and vaginal microbiomes in post-pubertal girls. Compared to female urinary microbiomes, those of males differed less substantially. Only perineal microbiomes differed significantly by age, whereas male urethral and foreskin microbiomes did not differ significantly. DISCUSSION: We identified that a urinary microbiome is established as early as infancy. In addition, the female urobiome changes throughout childhood, until the post-pubertal bacterial taxa becomes consistent with that seen in adult females. Whereas in boys, the urinary microbiome changed very little over time. In addition, the surrounding urogenital microbiomes differed less in boys as compared to females. Microbiomes established at a young age may have long-term influences on immune, metabolic, and neurobehavioral traits. The same may be true for the urobiome. Our study provides a foundation for future research to determine the influence of the pediatric urobiome on the development of urinary and even non-urinary disorders. CONCLUSIONS: A pediatric urobiome exists, with differences between males and females and can be detected at a young age with changes occurring throughout childhood. Similarities and differences are also seen between the pediatric urobiome and adjacent niches.
Journal Title: Journal of pediatric urology
ISSN: 1873-4898; 1477-5131
Publisher: Unknown  
Date Published: 2022
LUC Authors
  1. Alan Jeffrey Wolfe
    151 Wolfe
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