UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Long-Term Impact of Childhood Adversity on the Gut Microbiome of Nursing Students Kazemian, Negin; Zhou, Tony; Chalasani, Naveen; Narayan, Apurva; Cedeño Laurent, Jose Guillermo; Olvera Alvarez, Hector A.; Pakpour, Sepideh


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) encompass negative, stressful, and potentially traumatic events during childhood, impacting physical and mental health outcomes in adulthood. Limited studies suggest ACEs can have short-term effects on children’s gut microbiomes and adult cognitive performance under stress. Nevertheless, the long-term effects of ACEs experienced during adulthood remain unexplored. Thus, this study aimed to assess the long-term effects of ACEs on the gut microbiota of adult nursing students. We employed a multidimensional approach, combining 16S rRNA sequencing, bioinformatics tools, and machine learning to predict functional capabilities. High-ACE individuals had an increased abundance of Butyricimonas spp. and Prevotella spp. and decreased levels of Clostridiales, and Lachnospira spp. Prevotella abundance correlated negatively with L-glutamate and L-glutamine biosynthesis, potentially impacting intestinal tissue integrity. While nursing students with high ACE reported increased depression, evidence for a direct gut microbiota–depression relationship was inconclusive. High-ACE individuals also experienced a higher prevalence of diarrhea. These findings highlight the long-lasting impact of ACEs on the gut microbiota and its functions in adulthood, particularly among nursing students. Further research is warranted to develop targeted interventions and strategies for healthcare professionals, optimizing overall health outcomes.

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