Malnutrition continues to affect the growth and development of millions of children worldwide, and chronic undernutrition has proven to be largely refractory to interventions. Improved understanding of metabolic development in infancy and how it differs in growth-constrained children may provide insights to inform more timely, targeted, and effective interventions. Here, the metabolome of healthy infants was compared to that of growth-constrained infants from three continents over the first 2 years of life to identify metabolic signatures of aging. Predictive models demonstrated that growth-constrained children lag in their metabolic maturity relative to their healthier peers and that metabolic maturity can predict growth 6 months into the future. Our results provide a metabolic framework from which future nutritional programs may be more precisely constructed and evaluated.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Etiology, Risk Factors, and Interactions of Enteric Infections and Malnutrition and the Consequences for Child Health and Development Project (MAL-ED) is carried out as a collaborative project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF 47075), the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, while additional support was obtained from BMGF for the examination of host innate factors on enteric disease risk and enteropathy (grants OPP1066146 and OPP1152146 to M.N.K.). Additional funding was obtained from the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Center for Environmental Infectious Diseases of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (to M.N.K.).
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