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An Integrated Review of Intestinal Microbiota in the Very Premature Infant

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Background: The intestinal microbiota is important for optimal intestinal function and protection against infection. Disruption of the intestinal microbiota has been linked to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and late-onset sepsis (LOS).

Objectives: To determine what is known about the intestinal microbiota of very premature infants. We describe the relationship of the intestinal microbiota to NEC and LOS and provide an overview of the effect of environmental factors.

Methods: A review was conducted using PubMed/MEDLINE from 2008 to 2015 to examine what is currently known about the intestinal microbiota of very premature infants.

Discussion: The intestinal bacteria are low in diversity and generally contain a predominance of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Evidence suggests that these bacteria play a role in NEC as well as LOS through translocation. Environmental factors such as mode of delivery, use of antibiotics, and type of feeding may also contribute to the development of the intestinal microbiota.
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Keywords: GASTROINTESTINAL; LATE-ONSET SEPSIS; MICROBIOTA; NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS; PREMATURE INFANT

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Virginia Commonwealth University, 9631 Raven Wing Drive, Chesterfield, VA 23832, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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