The Neonatal Microbiome and Necrotizing Enterocolitis.

Nature Precedings doi:10.1038/npre.2010.5285.1, 2010 Nov 18.


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disorder that affects approximately 10% of premature infants. Its mortality remains high (15-30%), and its cause remains unknown. About 80% of cases occur within 35 days of birth among hospitalized newborns of low birth weight. Probiotics diminish the incidence and severity of NEC, and NEC does not occur antepartum. NEC affects a readily identifiable at-risk group, has a tightly defined interval before its onset, occurs in an organ system that is intimately associated with a microbial population in flux, has a plausible association with the intestinal microbiota, and cohorts at risk have rarely been studied in large numbers, or prospectively. This disorder, therefore, provides a unique opportunity to explore the role of the human enteric microbiome in a devastating disease. Moreover, NEC epidemiology and age-incidence present an ability to enroll and study cohorts that are highly likely to provide valuable pathophysiologic and microbiologic insights.


Tarr PI, Warner B, Sodergren E, Shannon W, Hamvas A, Magrini V, Weinstock G.

Institute Authors