PWSA (USA) approves grant: Profiling of the gut microbiome in children with PWS

Profiling of the gut microbiome in children with PWS
Principal Investigator – Andrea M Haqq, MD, MHS, FRCP
University of Alberta, Canada
Individuals with a genetic condition called Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) are at risk for development of obesity at a young age. Children with PWS often have a very high food intake because they experience a constant feeling of hunger. However, even children with PWS who limit their food intake can still gain excessive amounts of weight. Attempts to control weight in PWS through dietary interventions have had limited success. The human gut contains bacteria that play an important role in food digestion. When the stomach and small intestine are unable to digest certain foods, gut microbes ensure nutrients are digested. Changes in gut microbes may lead to obesity, but the specific role of gut microbes in weight control in PWS and childhood obesity is not yet fully understood.
In this study, they will compare the gut microbial composition of infants and children with PWS to individuals of similar age, sex and body weight who do not have PWS. PWS infants and children and controls (ages 0-17 years) will be recruited. A stool sample will be collected during one study visit at the University of Alberta. They will assess the microbiome at different stages of development to assess whether temporal changes in the microbiome are associated with temporal change in food seeking behavior and hyperphagia.
Hypotheses: The gut microbial composition will be significantly different between PWS and matched controls.
Relevance: This proposal uses state-of-the-art technology to address a critical clinical question. It will provide novel information to design therapies aimed at reversing gut dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body), and thereby improving metabolism and lowering inflammation in children with PWS with obesity.

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