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Multi-Omic Factors Associated with Frequency of Upper Respiratory Infections in Developing Infants

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posted on 2023-02-21, 18:39 authored by Ramin Beheshti, E. Scott Halstead, Bryan Cusack, Steven D Hicks

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. 

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