Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED) is an acquired small intestinal inflammatory condition underlying high rates of stunting in children <5 years of age in low- and middle-income countries. Children with EED are known to have repeated exposures to enteropathogens and environmental toxins that leads to malabsorptive syndrome. We aimed to characterize association of linear growth faltering with enteropathogen burden and subsequent changes in EED biomarkers. In a longitudinal birth cohort (n = 272), monthly anthropometric measurements (Length for Age Z score- LAZ) of asymptomatic children were obtained up to 18 months. Biological samples were collected at 6 and 9 months for the assessment of biomarkers. A customized TaqMan array card was used to target 40 enteropathogens in fecal samples. Linear regression was applied to study the effect of specific enteropathogen infection on change in linear growth (ΔLAZ). Presence of any pathogen in fecal sample correlated with serum flagellin IgA (6 mo, r = 0.19, p = 0.002), fecal Reg 1b (6 mo, r = 0.16, p = 0.01; 9mo, r = 0.16, p = 0.008) and serum Reg 1b (6 mo, r = 0.26, p<0.0001; 9 mo, r = 0.15, p = 0.008). At 6 months, presence of Campylobacter [β (SE) 7751.2 (2608.5), p = 0.003] and ETEC LT [β (SE) 7089.2 (3015.04), p = 0.019] was associated with increase in MPO. Giardia was associated with increase in Reg1b [β (SE) 72.189 (26.394), p = 0.006] and antiflic IgA[β (SE) 0.054 (0.021), p = 0.0091]. Multiple enteropathogen infections in early life negatively correlated with ΔLAZ, and simultaneous changes in gut inflammatory and permeability markers. A combination vaccine targeting enteropathogens in early life could help in the prevention of future stunting


PloS one

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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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