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Factors influencing gastrointestinal tract and microbiota immune interaction in preterm infants

AuthorsCollado, María Carmen ; Cernada, María; Neu, Josef; Pérez Martínez, Gaspar ; Gormaz, María; Vento, Máximo
KeywordsNeonatal research network
Necrotizing enterocolitis
Breast milk
Issue Date1-Apr-2015
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationPediatric Research 77: 726-731 (2015)
AbstractThe role of microbial colonization is indispensable for keeping a balanced immune response in life. However, the events that regulate the establishment of the microbiota, their timing, and the way in which they interact with the host are not yet fully understood. Factors such as gestational age, mode of delivery, environment, hygienic measures, and diet influence the establishment of microbiota in the perinatal period. Environmental microbes constitute the most important group of exogenous stimuli in this critical time frame. However, the settlement of a stable gut microbiota in preterm infants is delayed compared to term infants. Preterm infants have an immature gastrointestinal tract and immune system which predisposes to infectious morbidity. Neonatal microbial dynamics and alterations in early gut microbiota may precede and/or predispose to diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), late-onset sepsis or others. During this critical period, nutrition is the principal contributor for immunological and metabolic development, and microbiological programming. Breast milk is a known source of molecules that act synergistically to protect the gut barrier and enhance the maturation of the gut-related immune response. Host-microbe interactions in preterm infants and the protective role of diet focused on breast milk impact are beginning to be unveiled.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/pr.2015.54
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