Prevention of Necrotizing Enterocolitis Through Manipulation of the Intestinal Microbiota of the Premature Infant

Kannikar Vongbhavit, Mark Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose In spite of four decades of research, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains the most common gastrointestinal complication in premature infants with high mortality and long-term morbidity. The composition of the intestinal microbiota of the premature infant differs dramatically from that of the healthy term infant and appears to be an important risk factor for NEC. Methods We review the evidence of an association between intestinal dysbiosis and NEC and summarize published English language clinical trials and cohort studies involving attempts to manipulate the intestinal microbiota in premature infants. Findings Promising NEC prevention strategies that alter the intestinal microbiota include probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, lacteroferrin, and human milk feeding. Implications Shaping the intestinal microbiota of the premature infant through human milk feeding and dietary supplements decreases the risk of NEC. Further studies to identify the ideal microbial composition and the most effective combination of supplements are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-732
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Key words s: human milk
  • lactoferrin
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • prebiotic
  • premature infant probiotic
  • synbiotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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