Effects of a formula with a probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis Supplement on the gut microbiota of low birth weight infants

  • Cheng Chi
  • Yong Xue
  • Ruixia Liu
  • Yanxin Wang
  • Na Lv
  • Huihui Zeng
  • Nicholas Buys
  • Baoli ZhuEmail author
  • Jing SunEmail author
  • Chenghong YinEmail author
Original Contribution



Low birth weight (LBW) infants have a less diverse gut microbiota, enriched in potential pathogens, which places them at high risk of systemic inflammation diseases. This study aimed to identify the differences in gut bacterial community structure between LBW infants who received probiotics and LBW infants who did not receive probiotics.


Forty-one infants were allocated to the non-probiotic group (N group) and 56 infants to the probiotic group (P group), according to whether the formula they received contained a probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis. Gut bacterial composition was identified with sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene in fecal samples collected at 14 days after birth.


There was no significant difference between the alpha diversity of the two groups, while the beta diversity was significantly different (p < 0.05). Our results showed that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (both p < 0.05) were enriched in the P group, while Veillonella, Dolosigranulum and Clostridium sensu stricto 1 (all p < 0.05) were enriched in the N group. Predicted metagenome function analysis revealed enhancement of fatty acids, peroxisome, starch, alanine, tyrosine and peroxisome pathways in the P group, and enhancement of plant pathogen, Salmonella and Helicobacter pylori infection pathways in the N group.


Probiotic supplement in formula may affect the composition, stability and function of LBW infants’ gut microbiota. LBW infants who receive probiotic intervention may benefit from gut microbiota that contains more beneficial bacteria.


Low birth weight infant Gut microbiota Probiotics Metagenome function analysis 



This work was supported by the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. S160003). The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no completing interests.

Ethical statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital (No. 2017-KY-027-01). Informed written consent was obtained from the parents of each infant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Food Science and Nutritional EngineeringChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Central Laboratory, Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of MicrobiologyChinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina
  5. 5.Department of Neonatology, Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  6. 6.School of MedicineGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  7. 7.Menzies Health Institute QueenslandGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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