Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Molecular and cellular pediatrics


About 150 human rhinovirus serotypes are responsible for more than 50 % of recurrent upper respiratory infections. Despite having similar 3D structures, some bind members of the low-density lipoprotein receptor family, some ICAM-1, and some use CDHR3 for host cell infection. This is also reflected in the pathways exploited for cellular entry. We found that even rhinovirus serotypes binding the same receptor can travel along different endocytic pathways and release their RNA genome into the cytosol at different locations. How this may account for distinct immune responses elicited by various rhinoviruses and the observed symptoms of the common cold is briefly discussed.

Concepts: Immune system, Asthma, Influenza, Otitis media, Fatigue, Upper respiratory tract infection, Common cold, Rhinovirus


Incomplete intestinal absorption of fructose might lead to abdominal complaints such as pain, flatulence and diarrhoea. Whether defect fructose transporters such as GLUT5 or GLUT2 are involved in the pathogenesis of fructose malabsorption is a matter of debate. The hydrogen production by colonic bacteria is used for diagnosis with the hydrogen breath test. However, the appropriate fructose test dose for correct diagnosis is unclear. Subjects with fructose malabsorption show increased breath hydrogen levels and abdominal symptoms after fructose administration but do not report any symptoms when fructose is given together with glucose. This beneficial effect of glucose, however, cannot be explained yet but might be used for clinical care of these subjects.

Concepts: Glucose, Intestine, Gastroenterology, Small intestine, Fructose, Diarrhea, Fructose malabsorption, Hydrogen breath test


Pureed complementary feeding products packed in squeezable plastic pouches, usually with a spout and a screw cap, have been increasingly marketed. The Committee on Nutrition recommends that infants and young children should not suck pureed or liquid complementary foods from baby food pouches. Complementary foods should be offered with a spoon or should be fed as finger foods. Infants and young children should be given the opportunity to get to know a variety of foods and food textures including pieces of foods, supported by responsive feeding between the child and their parents or caregivers. Complementary foods marketed in baby food pouches often have a high energy density and are predominantly extremely high in sugar content, with up to almost 90% of the total energy content. Regular consumption bears the risks of imbalanced nutrient provision and increased risks for dental caries and overweight. Complementary foods for infants and young children should have a balanced composition following the recommendations of the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) and should contain only limited amounts of sugar. We discourage the feeding of pureed complementary foods from baby food pouches.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease in which bacterial infections of the airways play a major role in the long-term clinical outcome. In recent years, a number of next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based studies aimed at deciphering the structure and composition of the airways' microbiota. It was shown that the nasal cavity of CF patients displays dysbiosis early in life indicating a failure in the first establishment of a healthy microbiota. In contrast, within the conducting and lower airways, the establishment occurs normally first, but is sensitive to future dysbiosis including chronic infections with classical pathogens in later life. The objective of this mini-review is to give an update on the current knowledge about the development of the microbiota in the early life of CF patients. Microbial acquisition in the human airways can be described by the island model: Microbes found in the lower airways of CF patients represent “islands” that are at first populated from the upper airways reflecting the “mainland.” Colonization can be modeled following the neutral theory in which the most abundant bacteria in the mainland are also frequently found in the lower airways initially. At later times, however, the colonization process of the lower airways segregates by active selection of specific microbes. Future research should focus on those processes of microbial and host interactions to understand how microbial communities are shaped on short- and long-term scales. We point out what therapeutic consequences arise from the microbiome data obtained within ecological framework models.

Concepts: Immune system, Archaea, Natural selection, Bacteria, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Cystic fibrosis, Respiratory system


Retinoic acid (RA), the active form of vitamin A, regulates key developmental processes in multiple organs. In the developing lung, RA is crucial for normal growth and differentiation of airways. Disruption in RA signaling or vitamin A deficiency (VAD) has been linked to aberrant development of the lung including alterations in the airway smooth muscle (SM) differentiation, development, and function. These alterations have been linked to disease states including asthma in both human and animal models.

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Developmental biology, Heart, Smooth muscle, Developmental psychology, Vitamin A, Retinoic acid


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects a large number of children throughout the world. The symptom expression of IBS is heterogeneous, and several factors which may be interrelated within the IBS biopsychosocial model play a role. These factors include visceral hyperalgesia, intestinal permeability, gut microbiota, psychosocial distress, gut inflammation, bile acids, food intolerance, colonic bacterial fermentation, and genetics. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of these factors are being actively investigated. In this mini-review, we present updates of these mechanisms and, where possible, relate the findings to childhood IBS. Mechanistic elucidation may lead to the identification of biomarkers as well as personalized childhood IBS therapies.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Yeast, Digestive system, Constipation, Gastroenterology, Irritable bowel syndrome, Flatulence


Primary cilia are membrane-bound microtubule-based protuberances of the cell membrane projecting to the extracellular environment. While little attention was paid to this subcellular structure over a long time, recent research has highlighted multiple cellular functions of primary cilia and has brought cilia to the focus of medical and cell biological research.

Concepts: Medicine, Gene, Cell, Cell membrane, Organelle, Organ, Lipid bilayer, Cilium


In Western countries, vegetarian diets are associated with lower intakes of energy, saturated fatty acids and animal protein and higher intakes of fibre and phytochemicals, compared to omnivorous diets. Whether the corresponding health benefits in vegetarians outweigh the risks of nutrient deficiencies has not been fully clarified. It should be noted that vegetarians often have a higher socioeconomic status, follow a more health-conscious lifestyle with higher physical activity, and refrain from smoking more often than non-vegetarians. The nutritional needs of growing children and adolescents can generally be met through a balanced, vegetable-based diet; however, due to their higher nutrient requirements per kilogramme of body weight, vegetarian children have a higher risk for developing nutrient deficiencies than adults. With a vegetarian diet, the mean intakes of some nutrients, such as the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are lower than in omnivores or those eating fish. For other nutrients, such as iron and zinc, the bioavailability from vegetable foodstuffs is reduced when the intake of phytates and fibre is high; thus, the prevalence of iron deficiency can be increased despite high vitamin C intake. In addition, vitamin B12 is only found in animal-source foods. Vitamin B12 should be supplemented in people of all age groups who follow a strict vegan diet without consuming animal products. A vegetarian diet in childhood and adolescence requires good information and supervision by a paediatrician, if necessary, in cooperation with an appropriately trained dietary specialist.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a lethal monogenic disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that entails the (diagnostic) increase in sweat electrolyte concentrations, progressive lung disease with chronic inflammation and recurrent bacterial infections, pancreatic insufficiency, and male infertility. Therapies aimed at restoring the CFTR defect have emerged. Thus, a small molecule which facilitates chloride channel opening, the potentiator Ivacaftor, has been approved for the treatment of CF patients bearing a particular class of rare CFTR mutations. However, small molecules that directly target the most common misfolded CFTR mutant, F508del, and improve its intracellular trafficking in vitro, have been less effective than expected when tested in CF patients, even in combination with Ivacaftor. Thus, new strategies are required to circumvent the F508del-CFTR defect. Airway and intestinal epithelial cells from CF patients bearing the F508del-CFTR mutation exhibit an impressive derangement of cellular proteostasis, with oxidative stress, overactivation of the tissue transglutaminase (TG2), and disabled autophagy. Proteostasis regulators such as cysteamine can rescue and stabilize a functional F508del-CFTR protein through suppressing TG2 activation and restoring autophagy in vivo in F508del-CFTR homozygous mice, in vitro in CF patient-derived cell lines, ex vivo in freshly collected primary patient’s nasal cells, as well as in a pilot clinical trial involving homozygous F508del-CFTR patients. Here, we discuss how the therapeutic normalization of defective proteostasis can be harnessed for the treatment of CF patients with the F508del-CFTR mutation.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Bacteria, In vivo, Cystic fibrosis, In vitro, Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator


Osmotic diarrhea and abdominal pain in humans are oftentimes associated with carbohydrate malabsorption in the small intestine due to loss of function of microvillar disaccharidases. Disaccharidases are crucial for the digestion and the subsequent absorption of carbohydrates. This review focuses on sucrase-isomaltase as the most abundant intestinal disaccharidase and the primary or induced pathological conditions that affect its physiological function. Congenital defects are primary factors which directly influence the transport and function of sucrase-isomaltase in a healthy epithelium. Based on the mutation type and the pattern of inheritance, a mutation in the sucrase-isomaltase gene may exert a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. However, structure and function of wild type sucrase-isomaltase can be also affected by secondary factors which influence its structure and function either specifically via certain inhibitors and therapeutic agents or generally as a part of intestinal pathogenesis, for example in the inflammatory responses. Diagnosis of sucrase-isomaltase deficiency and discriminating it from other gastrointestinal intolerances can be latent in the patients because of common symptoms observed in all of these cases.Here, we summarize the disorders that implicate the digestive function of sucrase-isomaltase as well as the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies utilized to restore normal intestinal function.

Concepts: Biology, Ulcerative colitis, Intestine, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Small intestine, Digestion, Malabsorption