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Associations between the Gut Microbiome and Migraines in Children Aged 7-18 Years: An Analysis of the American Gut Project Cohort

      Abstract

      Background

      The gut microbiome seems to play a role in migraines through increasing intestinal epithelial permeability and pro-inflammatory processes. The associations between the gut microbiome and migraines are uncertain in children.

      Aim

      The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the associations between the gut microbiome and migraines in children aged 7-18 years from the American Gut Project (AGP).

      Method

      A cohort of children aged 7-18 years from the AGP was analyzed. 16S rRNA V4 gene sequences for the gut microbiome, migraines, and demographics were obtained from the AGP Public Repository. After quality control of 16S rRNA gene sequences, α-diversity (Shannon, Faith's_PD, and evenness) and β-diversity metrics (Bray-Curtis and weighted-UniFrac distances), taxonomy, and abundance analyses were implemented using QIIME 2.

      Results

      In total, 381 children (341 without migraines; 40 with professional or self-diagnosed migraines) were analyzed with a mean age of 11.5 years. Compared with those without migraines, children with migraines showed lower estimates in Shannon and Faith's_PD (p < .01). Both Bray-Curtis and weighted-UniFrac distances displayed the gut microbial dissimilarities between these two groups (p = .001). Children with migraines had higher abundances in genus of phylum Bacteroidetes (Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, Odoribacter), Actinobacteria (Eggerthella, Varibaculum), Firmicutes (SMB53, Lachnospira, Dorea, Veillonella, Anaerotruncus, Butyricicoccus, Coprobacillus, Eubacterium), and Proteobacteria (Sutterella) than children without migraines.

      Conclusions

      Associations of the gut microbiome diversity and abundances with migraines in children indicated potential biological mechanisms of migraines. Future work needs to confirm our findings in children.
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