Multi-Omic Factors Associated with Frequency of Upper Respiratory Infections in Developing Infants
Susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (URIs) may be influenced by host, microbial, and environmental factors. We hypothesized that multi-omic analyses of molecular factors in infant saliva would identify complex host-environment interactions associated with URI frequency. A cohort study involving 146 infants was used to assess URI frequency in the first year of life. Saliva was collected at 6 months for high-throughput multi-omic measurement of cytokines, microRNAs, transcripts, and microbial RNA. Regression analysis identified environmental (daycare attendance, atmospheric pollution, breastfeeding duration), microbial (Verrucomicrobia, Streptococcus phage), and host factors (miR-22-5p) associated with URI frequency (p < 0.05). These results provide pathophysiologic clues about molecular factors that influence URI susceptibility. Validation of these findings in a larger cohort could one day yield novel approaches to detecting and managing URI susceptibility in infants.