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Paediatrics and Child Health


Background: Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED) in children from low-income countries has been linked to linear growth declines. There is a critical need to identify sensitive and early EED biomarkers.
Objective: Determine whether levels of antibodies against bacterial components flagellin (flic) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) predict poor growth.
Design/Methods: In a prospective birth cohort of 380 children in rural Pakistan blood and stool samples were obtained at ages 6 and 9 months. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine longitudinal associations between quartiles of anti-flic and anti-LPS antibodies and changes in LAZ, WAZ and WLZ scores. Spearman's correlations were measured between anti-flic and anti-LPS immunoglobulins with measures of systemic/enteric inflammation and intestinal regeneration.
Results: Anti-LPS IgA correlated significantly with CRP, AGP and Reg1 serum at 6mo and with MPO at 9mo. In multivariate analysis at 6mo of age, higher anti-LPS IgA levels predicted greater declines in LAZ scores over subsequent 18mo (comparing highest to lowest quartile, β (SE) change in LAZ score/year = -0.313 (0.125), p-value = 0.013). Anti-flic Ig A in the two highest quartiles measured at 9mo of age had declines in LAZ of -0.269 (0.126), p = 0.033; and -0.306 (0.129), p = 0.018 respectively, during the subsequent 18mo of life, compared to those in the lowest quartile of anti-flic IgA.
Conclusions and Relevance: Elevated anti-flic IgA and anti-LPS IgA antibodies at 6 and 9mo, predict declines in linear growth. Systemic and enteric inflammation correlated with anti-LPS IgA provides mechanistic considerations for potential future interventions.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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