Intestinal microbial ecology and environmental factors affecting necrotizing enterocolitis.
ABSTRACT: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most devastating intestinal disease affecting preterm infants. In addition to being associated with short term mortality and morbidity, survivors are left with significant long term sequelae. The cost of caring for these infants is high. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that use of antibiotics and type of feeding may cause an intestinal dysbiosis important in the pathogenesis of NEC, but the contribution of specific infectious agents is poorly understood. Fecal samples from preterm infants ? 32 weeks gestation were analyzed using 16S rRNA based methods at 2, 1, and 0 weeks, prior to diagnosis of NEC in 18 NEC cases and 35 controls. Environmental factors such as antibiotic usage, feeding type (human milk versus formula) and location of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) were also evaluated. Microbiota composition differed between the three neonatal units where we observed differences in antibiotic usage. In NEC cases we observed a higher proportion of Proteobacteria (61%) two weeks and of Actinobacteria (3%) 1 week before diagnosis of NEC compared to controls (19% and 0.4%, respectively) and lower numbers of Bifidobacteria counts and Bacteroidetes proportions in the weeks before NEC diagnosis. In the first fecal samples obtained during week one of life we detected a novel signature sequence, distinct from but matching closest to Klebsiella pneumoniae, that was strongly associated with NEC development later in life. Infants who develop NEC exhibit a different pattern of microbial colonization compared to controls. Antibiotic usage correlated with these differences and combined with type of feeding likely plays a critical role in the development of NEC.
Project description:Preterm infants represent a unique patient population that is born functionally immature and must accomplish development under the influence of a hospital environment. Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an inflammatory intestinal disorder affecting preterm infants. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the progression of intestinal microbiota community development between preterm infants who remained healthy compared to preterm infants who developed NEC.Weekly fecal samples from ten preterm infants, five with NEC and five matched healthy controls were obtained. Bacterial DNA from individual fecal samples was subjected to sequencing of 16S rRNA-based inventories using the 454 GS-FLX platform. Fecal samples from control infants demonstrated a temporal pattern in their microbiota, which converged toward that of a healthy full term breast-fed infant. Microbiota development in NEC patients diverged from controls beginning three weeks prior to diagnosis. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing was performed to identify functional differences in the respective microbiota of fecal samples from a set of twins in which one twin developed NEC and one did not. The majority of the differentially abundant genes in the NEC patient were associated with carbohydrate metabolism and mapped to members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. This may indicate an adaptation of the community to an altered profile of substrate availability for specific members as a first step towards the development of NEC. We propose that the microbial communities as a whole may metabolize milk differently, resulting in differential substrate availability for specific microbial groups. Additional differentially represented gene sets of interest were related to antibiotic resistance and vitamin biosynthesis.Our results suggest that there is a temporal component to microbiome development in healthy preterm infants. Thus, bacteriotherapy for the treatment or prevention of NEC must consider this temporal component of the microbial community in addition to its taxonomic composition and functional content.
Project description:Intestinal bile salts (BSs) may be implicated in NEC development. We hypothesized that fecal BS levels are higher in preterm infants at risk for NEC.We compared the composition and concentration of fecal BSs in ten preterm infants who developed NEC (Bell's Stage ? II) with twenty matched control infants without NEC. Conjugated and unconjugated fecal BSs were measured after birth (T1) and twice prior to NEC (T2, T3). Data are presented as medians and interquartile ranges.GA and BW were similar in all preterms: ~27+4 weeks and ~1010 g. Age of NEC onset was day 10 (8-24). T1 was collected 2 (1-3) days after birth. T2 and T3 were collected 5 (5-6) days and 1 (0-2) day before NEC or at corresponding postnatal ages in controls. The composition of conjugated BSs did not differ between the two groups. Total unconjugated BSs were 3-fold higher before NEC compared to controls at corresponding ages (0.41 ?mol/g feces (0.21-0.74) versus 0.14 ?mol/g feces (0.06-0.46), p < 0.05).Fecal BS concentrations are higher in preterm infants who develop NEC compared to infants without NEC. Further study is needed to determine the predictive value of fecal BSs in the development of NEC.
Project description:Objectives: In 2014 probiotic supplementation (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis; Infloran?) was introduced as standard of care to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in extremely preterm infants in Norway. We aimed to evaluate the influence of probiotics and antibiotic therapy on the developing gut microbiota and antibiotic resistome in extremely preterm infants, and to compare with very preterm infants and term infants not given probiotics. Study design: A prospective, observational multicenter study in six tertiary-care neonatal units. We enrolled 76 infants; 31 probiotic-supplemented extremely preterm infants <28 weeks gestation, 35 very preterm infants 28-31 weeks gestation not given probiotics and 10 healthy full-term control infants. Taxonomic composition and collection of antibiotic resistance genes (resistome) in fecal samples, collected at 7 and 28 days and 4 months age, were analyzed using shotgun-metagenome sequencing. Results: Median (IQR) birth weight was 835 (680-945) g and 1,290 (1,150-1,445) g in preterm infants exposed and not exposed to probiotics, respectively. Two extremely preterm infants receiving probiotic developed NEC requiring surgery. At 7 days of age we found higher median relative abundance of Bifidobacterium in probiotic supplemented infants (64.7%) compared to non-supplemented preterm infants (0.0%) and term control infants (43.9%). Lactobacillus was only detected in small amounts in all groups, but the relative abundance increased up to 4 months. Extremely preterm infants receiving probiotics had also much higher antibiotic exposure, still overall microbial diversity and resistome was not different than in more mature infants at 4 weeks and 4 months. Conclusion: Probiotic supplementation may induce colonization resistance and alleviate harmful effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiota and antibiotic resistome. Clinical Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02197468. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02197468.
Project description:Despite increased efforts, the diverse etiologies of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) have remained largely elusive. Clinical predictors of NEC remain ill-defined and currently lack sufficient specificity. The development of a thorough understanding of initial gut microbiota colonization pattern in preterm infants might help to improve early detection or prediction of NEC and its associated morbidities. Here we compared the fecal microbiota successions, microbial diversity, abundance and structure of newborns that developed NEC with preterm controls. A 16S rRNA based microbiota analysis was conducted in a total of 132 fecal samples that included the first stool (meconium) up until the 5th week of life or NEC diagnosis from 40 preterm babies (29 controls and 11 NEC cases). A single phylotype matching closest to the Enterobacteriaceae family correlated strongly with NEC. In DNA from the sample with the greatest abundance of this phylotype additional shotgun metagenomic sequencing revealed Citrobacter koseri and Klebsiella pneumoniae as the dominating taxa. These two taxa might represent suitable microbial biomarker targets for early diagnosis of NEC. In NEC cases, we further detected lower microbial diversity and an abnormal succession of the microbial community before NEC diagnosis. Finally, we also detected a disruption in anaerobic microorganisms in the co-occurrence network of meconium samples from NEC cases. Our data suggest that a strong dominance of Citrobacter koseri and/or Klebsiella pneumoniae, low diversity, low abundance of Lactobacillus, as well as an altered microbial-network structure during the first days of life, correlate with NEC risk in preterm infants. Confirmation of these findings in other hospitals might facilitate the development of a microbiota based screening approach for early detection of NEC.
Project description:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an acute and life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder afflicting preterm infants, which is currently unpreventable. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a promising preventative therapy, but potential bacterial infection raise concern. Removal of bacteria from donor feces may reduce this risk while maintaining the NEC-preventive effects. We aimed to assess preclinical efficacy and safety of bacteria-free fecal filtrate transfer (FFT). Using fecal material from healthy suckling piglets, we administered FMT rectally, or cognate FFT either rectally or oro-gastrically to formula-fed preterm, cesarean-delivered piglets as a model for preterm infants, We compared gut pathology and related safety parameters with saline controls, and analyzed ileal mucosal transcriptome to gauge the host e response to FMT and FFT treatments relative to control. Results showed that oro-gastric FFT prevented NEC, whereas FMT did not perform better than control. Moreover, FFT but not FMT reduced intestinal permeability, whereas FMT animals had reduced body weight increase and intestinal growth. Global gene expression of host mucosa responded to FMT but not FFT with increased and decreased bacterial and viral defense mechanisms, respectively. In conclusion, as preterm infants are extremely vulnerable to enteric bacterial infections, rational NEC-preventive strategies need incontestable safety profiles. Here we show in a clinically relevant animal model that FFT, as opposed to FMT, efficiently prevents NEC without any recognizable side effects. If translatable to preterm infants, this could lead to a change of practice and in turn a reduction in NEC burden. Overall design: A total of 52 samples were analyzed. This included four groups of animals receiving fecal microbiota transplantation rectally (FMT, n=16), fecal filtrate transfer rectally (FFTr, n=12), fecal filtrate transfer oro-gastrically (FFTo, n=12) or saline oro-gastrically and rectally as control (CON, n=12).
Project description:The microbial dysbiosis associated with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in preterm infants suggests that early exposure to probiotics may decrease and antibiotics may increase NEC risk. However, administration of Bifidobacterium breve strain BBG-001 to preterm infants did not affect NEC incidence in a multicenter randomised controlled phase 3 trial (PiPS trial). Using a subset of these subjects we compared the fecal microbiome of probiotic and placebo groups and assessed the impact of early antibiotic treatment. Extracted DNA from 103 fecal samples collected at 36weeks post-menstrual age underwent PCR amplification of a fragment of the 16S rRNA gene. Heatmaps were constructed showing the proportions of sequences from bacterial families present at >1% of the community. Stepwise logistic regression assessed the association between early antibiotic exposure and microbiome group. There was no difference in the microbial richness and diversity of the microbiome of preterm infants following treatment with probiotic or a placebo. Conversely, early antimicrobial exposure was associated with different patterns of colonisation, specifically a relative abundance of Proteobacteria. These findings highlight that the potential influence of probiotics on the microbiome of preterm infants remains unclear whereas the modulatory effect of antibiotic exposure on microbial colonisation requires further research.
Project description:<b>Objective:</b> Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is characterized by peripheral cell abnormalities, yet few studies have analyzed the complete blood count (CBC) specifically by gestational age (GA). Our objective was to describe GA-specific immune abnormalities in NEC through a comprehensive analysis of the CBC differential. <b>Methods:</b> Using a cohort of 246 infants (177 cases, 69 controls) admitted to neonatal intensive care units at a single institution, we retrospectively analyzed CBCs around illness onset in NEC cases compared with controls. Cases included surgical NEC (S-NEC, 34.5%) and medical NEC (M-NEC, 65.5%). Infants were divided into those born at GA <33 and ?33 weeks. Differences in CBC values were described as absolute and percent changes at NEC onset from baseline and at antibiotic completion after NEC. We used machine learning algorithms based on the CBC at NEC to generate predictive models for diagnosis. <b>Results:</b> At NEC onset, there was an acute drop in monocytes and lymphocytes along with a rise in bands in S-NEC infants born <33 weeks compared with M-NEC. In comparison, both M-NEC and S-NEC ?33 weeks had a percent drop in neutrophils at diagnosis compared with controls. At antibiotic completion, monocytes in S-NEC <33 weeks significantly rose compared with M-NEC, yet for S-NEC ?33 weeks, bands significantly dropped compared with M-NEC. Predictive modeling was able to accurately predict S-NEC from M-NEC and controls. <b>Conclusion:</b> There are discrete leukocyte patterns in NEC based on GA. The CBC at diagnosis may be useful in identifying patients who will require surgery.
Project description:The assembly and development of the gut microbiome in infants have important consequences for immediate and long-term health. Preterm infants represent an abnormal case for bacterial colonization because of early exposure to bacteria and frequent use of antibiotics. To better understand the assembly of the gut microbiota in preterm infants, fecal samples were collected from 32 very low birth weight preterm infants over the first 6 weeks of life. Infant health outcomes included health, late-onset sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). We characterized bacterial compositions by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metabolomes by untargeted gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Preterm infant fecal samples lacked beneficial Bifidobacterium spp. and were dominated by Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus organisms due to nearly uniform antibiotic administration. Most of the variance between the microbial community compositions could be attributed to the baby from which the sample derived (permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA] R2 = 0.48, P < 0.001), while clinical status (health, NEC, or late-onset sepsis) and overlapping times in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) did not explain a significant amount of variation in bacterial composition. Fecal metabolomes were also found to be unique to the individual (PERMANOVA R2 = 0.43, P < 0.001) and weakly associated with bacterial composition (Mantel statistic r = 0.23 ± 0.05, P < 0.05). No measured metabolites were found to be associated with necrotizing enterocolitis, late-onset sepsis, or a healthy outcome. Overall, preterm infant gut microbial communities were personalized and reflected antibiotic usage.IMPORTANCE Preterm infants face health problems likely related to microbial exposures, including sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis. However, the role of the gut microbiome in preterm infant health is poorly understood. Microbial colonization differs from that of healthy term babies because it occurs in the NICU and is often perturbed by antibiotics. We measured bacterial compositions and metabolomic profiles of 77 fecal samples from 32 preterm infants to investigate the differences between microbiomes in health and disease. Rather than finding microbial signatures of disease, we found that both the preterm infant microbiome and the metabolome were personalized and that the preterm infant gut microbiome is enriched in microbes that commonly dominate in the presence of antibiotics. These results contribute to the growing knowledge of the preterm infant microbiome and emphasize that a personalized view will be important to disentangle the health consequences of the preterm infant microbiome.
Project description:Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an inflammatory intestinal disorder affecting preterm infants. Intestinal bacteria have an important function; however no causative pathogen has been identified. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are differences in microbial patterns that may be critical to the development of this disease. Fecal samples from 20 preterm infants, 10 with NEC and 10 matched controls (including 4 twin pairs) were obtained from patients in a single site level III neonatal intensive care unit. Bacterial DNA from individual fecal samples was PCR-amplified and subjected to terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize diversity and structure of the enteric microbiota. The distribution of samples from NEC patients distinctly clustered separately from controls. Intestinal bacterial colonization in all preterm infants was notable for low diversity. Patients with NEC had even less diversity, an increase in abundance of Gammaproteobacteria, a decrease in other bacteria species, and had received a higher mean number of previous days of antibiotics. Our results suggest that NEC is associated with severe lack of microbiota diversity that may accentuate the impact of single dominant microorganisms favored by empiric and widespread use of antibiotics.
Project description:Background: Most hospitalized preterm infants receive antibiotics in the first days of life to prevent or treat infections. Short-term, early antibiotic treatment may also prevent the microbiota-dependent gut inflammatory disorder, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). It remains a challenge to predict NEC, and a few early blood diagnostic markers exist. Using preterm pigs as model for infants, blood parameters and plasma proteins affected by early progression of NEC were profiled in preterm pigs subjected to oral, systemic, or no antibiotics after preterm birth. Methods: Preterm newborn pigs were treated with saline (CON) or antibiotics (ampicillin, gentamicin, and metronidazole) given enterally (ENT) or parenterally (PAR), and fed formula for 4 days to induce variable microbiome-dependent sensitivities to NEC. The gut was collected for macroscopic scoring of NEC lesions and blood for hematology, blood biochemistry, and LC/MS-based plasma proteomics. Statistical modeling was applied to detect plasma proteins affected by NEC and/or antibiotics. Results: Analyzed across different antibiotic regimens, NEC progression was associated with altered blood parameters and abundance of 89 plasma proteins that were functionally involved in extracellular membrane destruction, lipid metabolism, coagulopathy, and acute phase response. Large NEC-related changes were observed in abundance of RBP4, FGA, AHSG, C5, PTPRG, and A-1-antichymotrypsin 2, indicating potential serving as early markers of NEC. Conversely, antibiotic treatment, independent of NEC, affected only 4 proteins with main differences found between ENT and CON pigs. Conclusion: Early postnatal development of NEC lesions is associated with marked plasma protein changes that may be used for early NEC diagnosis.