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Biomarker for devastating intestinal disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, found in early preterm infants

Date:
April 15, 2013
Source:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a biomarker that may help prevent a devastating intestinal disease that occurs in one of every 10 early preterm infants. The study may help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition primarily seen in preemies in which bowel tissue dies.

Researchers have discovered a biomarker that may help prevent a devastating intestinal disease that occurs in one of every 10 early preterm infants.

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study may help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition primarily seen in preemies in which bowel tissue dies. The death rate approaches 30 percent. Survivors are at risk for short-bowel syndrome (caused by surgical removal of the small intestine) and neurodevelopmental disability.

The study is published in the journal Microbiome.

The research, led by Ardythe Morrow, PhD, shows that NEC is preceded by two distinct microbial imbalances in the digestive tract, suggesting that these imbalances "may provide highly predictive biomarkers of NEC," she says.

"Using a combination of early microbial factors, we obtained a predictive value for NEC exceeding 80 percent," says Dr. Morrow. "This requires validation in larger studies, but the findings are striking."

Dr. Morrow's main analysis looked at stool and urine samples collected from 32 infants prior to the onset of disease. The infants were born at less than 29 weeks gestational age.

Eleven of the 32 went on to develop NEC. In all of these cases, NEC was preceded by a dominance of certain types of bacteria in the intestinal tract -- either firmicutes in the first week of life or proteobacteria in the second week. Dominance of proteobacteria also occurred in half of those who did not develop NEC.

The team of investigators led by Dr. Morrow also identified a potential simple urine analysis that could help detect the bacterial dominance that occurs in advance of NEC. The research team will attempt to validate its findings in a national study and is studying approaches to prevent the occurrence of NEC in preterm infants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ardythe L Morrow, Anne J Lagomarcino, Kurt R Schibler, Diana H Taft, Zhuoteng Yu, Bo Wang, Mekibib Altaye, Michael Wagner, Dirk Gevers, Doyle V Ward, Michael A Kennedy, Curtis Huttenhower, David S Newburg. Early microbial and metabolomic signatures predict later onset of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. Microbiome, 2013; 1 (1): 13 DOI: 10.1186/2049-2618-1-13

Cite This Page:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Biomarker for devastating intestinal disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, found in early preterm infants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204907.htm>.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2013, April 15). Biomarker for devastating intestinal disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, found in early preterm infants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204907.htm
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Biomarker for devastating intestinal disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, found in early preterm infants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415204907.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

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