Mucosa-associated bacterial diversity in necrotizing enterocolitis.
ABSTRACT: Previous studies of infant fecal samples have failed to clarify the role of gut bacteria in the pathogenesis of NEC. We sought to characterize bacterial communities within intestinal tissue resected from infants with and without NEC.26 intestinal samples were resected from 19 infants, including 16 NEC samples and 10 non-NEC samples. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were amplified and sequenced. Analysis allowed for taxonomic identification, and quantitative PCR was used to quantify the bacterial load within samples.NEC samples generally contained an increased total burden of bacteria. NEC and non-NEC sample sets were both marked by high inter-individual variability and an abundance of opportunistic pathogens. There was no statistically significant distinction between the composition of NEC and non-NEC microbial communities. K-means clustering enabled us to identify several stable clusters, including clusters of NEC and midgut volvulus samples enriched with Clostridium and Bacteroides. Another cluster containing both NEC and non-NEC samples was marked by an abundance of Enterobacteriaceae and decreased diversity among NEC samples.The results indicate that NEC is a disease without a uniform pattern of microbial colonization, but that NEC is associated with an abundance of strict anaerobes and a decrease in community diversity.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common surgical emergency in preterm infants, and pathogenesis associates with changes in the fecal microbiome. As fecal samples incompletely represent microbial communities in intestinal mucosa, we sought to determine the NEC tissue-specific microbiome and assess its contribution to pathogenesis. DESIGN:We amplified and sequenced the V1-V3 hypervariable region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene extracted from intestinal tissue and corresponding fecal samples from 12 surgical patients with NEC and 14 surgical patients without NEC. Low quality and non-bacterial sequences were removed, and taxonomic assignment was made with the Ribosomal Database Project. Operational taxonomic units were clustered at 97%. We tested for differences between NEC and non-NEC samples in microbiome alpha- and beta-diversity and differential abundance of specific taxa between NEC and non-NEC samples. Additional analyses were performed to assess the contribution of other demographic and environmental confounding factors on the infant tissue and fecal microbiome. RESULTS:The fecal and tissue microbial communities were different. NEC was associated with a distinct microbiome, which was characterized by low diversity, higher abundances of Staphylococcus and Clostridium_sensu_stricto, and lower abundances of Actinomyces and Corynebacterium. Infant age and vancomycin exposure correlated with shifts in the tissue microbiome. CONCLUSION:The observed low diversity in NEC tissues suggests that NEC is associated with a bacterial bloom and a distinct mucosal bacterial community. The exact bacterial species that constitute the bloom varied by infant and were strongly influenced by age and exposure to vancomycin.
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:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating intestinal disease that afflicts 10% of extremely preterm infants. The contribution of early intestinal colonization to NEC onset is not understood, and predictive biomarkers to guide prevention are lacking. We analyzed banked stool and urine samples collected prior to disease onset from infants <29 weeks gestational age, including 11 infants who developed NEC and 21 matched controls who survived free of NEC. Stool bacterial communities were profiled by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Urinary metabolomic profiles were assessed by NMR.During postnatal days 4 to 9, samples from infants who later developed NEC tended towards lower alpha diversity (Chao1 index, P = 0.086) and lacked Propionibacterium (P = 0.009) compared to controls. Furthermore, NEC was preceded by distinct forms of dysbiosis. During days 4 to 9, samples from four NEC cases were dominated by members of the Firmicutes (median relative abundance >99% versus <17% in the remaining NEC and controls, P < 0.001). During postnatal days 10 to 16, samples from the remaining NEC cases were dominated by Proteobacteria, specifically Enterobacteriaceae (median relative abundance >99% versus 38% in the other NEC cases and 84% in controls, P = 0.01). NEC preceded by Firmicutes dysbiosis occurred earlier (onset, days 7 to 21) than NEC preceded by Proteobacteria dysbiosis (onset, days 19 to 39). All NEC cases lacked Propionibacterium and were preceded by either Firmicutes (?98% relative abundance, days 4 to 9) or Proteobacteria (?90% relative abundance, days 10 to 16) dysbiosis, while only 25% of controls had this phenotype (predictive value 88%, P = 0.001). Analysis of days 4 to 9 urine samples found no metabolites associated with all NEC cases, but alanine was positively associated with NEC cases that were preceded by Firmicutes dysbiosis (P < 0.001) and histidine was inversely associated with NEC cases preceded by Proteobacteria dysbiosis (P = 0.013). A high urinary alanine:histidine ratio was associated with microbial characteristics (P < 0.001) and provided good prediction of overall NEC (predictive value 78%, P = 0.007).Early dysbiosis is strongly involved in the pathobiology of NEC. These striking findings require validation in larger studies but indicate that early microbial and metabolomic signatures may provide highly predictive biomarkers of NEC.
Project description:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating intestinal inflammatory disease of premature infants associated with gut bacterial dysbiosis. Using 16S rRNA-based methods, our laboratory identified an unclassified Enterobacteriaceae sequence (NEC_unk_OTU) with high abundance in NEC fecal samples. We aimed to identify this bacterium and determine its potential role in the disease. NCBI database searches for the 16S sequence, selective culture systems, biotyping and polymerase chain reaction were employed to refine classification of NEC_unk_OTU and identify toxin-encoding genes from the index NEC case. Bacterial cytotoxin production was confirmed by mass spectrometry and apoptosis assays. Additional fecal samples from 9 NEC and 5 non-NEC controls were analyzed using similar methods and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) was performed to investigate clonal relationships and define sequence types of the isolates. NEC_unk_OTU was identified as Klebsiella oxytoca, a pathobiont known to cause antibiotic-associated hemorrhagic colitis, but not previously linked to NEC. Including the index case, cytotoxin-producing strains of K. oxytoca were isolated from 6 of 10 subjects with NEC; in these, the K. oxytoca 16S sequence predominated the fecal microbiota. Cytotoxin-producing strains of K. oxytoca also were isolated from 4 of 5 controls; in these, however, the abundance of the corresponding 16S sequence was very low. MLST analysis of the toxin-positive isolates demonstrated no clonal relationships and similar genetic clustering between cases and controls. These results suggest cytotoxin-producing strains of K. oxytoca colonize a substantial proportion of premature infants. Some, perhaps many, cases of NEC may be precipitated by outgrowth of this opportunistic pathogen.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Gastrointestinal barrier immaturity predisposes preterm infants to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) bearing the unconventional T cell receptor (TCR) ?? (?? IEL) maintain intestinal integrity and prevent bacterial translocation in part through production of interleukin (IL) 17.<h4>Objective</h4>We sought to study the development of ?? IEL in the ileum of human infants and examine their role in NEC pathogenesis. We defined the ontogeny of ?? IEL proportions in murine and human intestine and subjected tcr?-/- mice to experimental gut injury. In addition, we used polychromatic flow cytometry to calculate percentages of viable IEL (defined as CD3+ CD8+ CD103+ lymphocytes) and the fraction of ?? IEL in surgically resected tissue from infants with NEC and gestational age matched non-NEC surgical controls.<h4>Results</h4>In human preterm infants, the proportion of IEL was reduced by 66% in 11 NEC ileum resections compared to 30 non-NEC controls (p<0.001). While ?? IEL dominated over conventional ?? IEL early in gestation in mice and in humans, ?? IEL were preferential decreased in the ileum of surgical NEC patients compared to non-NEC controls (50% reduction, p<0.05). Loss of IEL in human NEC was associated with downregulation of the Th17 transcription factor retinoic acid-related orphan nuclear hormone receptor C (RORC, p<0.001). TCR?-deficient mice showed increased severity of experimental gut injury (p<0.05) with higher TNF? expression but downregulation of IL17A.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Complimentary mouse and human data suggest a role of ?? IEL in IL17 production and intestinal barrier production early in life. Specific loss of the ?? IEL fraction may contribute to NEC pathogenesis. Nutritional or pharmacological interventions to support ?? IEL maintenance in the developing small intestine could serve as novel strategies for NEC prevention.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a common cause of death in preterm infants and is closely linked to the gut microbiota. Spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) also occurs in preterm neonates, but results in lower mortality and less adverse neonatal outcomes than NEC. Existing studies are largely limited to non-invasive stool samples, which may not be reflective of the anatomical site of disease. Therefore, we analysed historical formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue from NEC and SIP preterm infants. A total of 13 NEC and 16 SIP infants were included. Extracted DNA from FFPE tissue blocks underwent 16S rRNA gene sequencing. For a subset of infants, diseased tissue and marginal healthy tissue from the same infant were compared. RESULTS:Xylene provided a cost and time effective means of deparaffinization. Tissue from the site of disease was highly comparable to adjacent healthier tissue. Comparing only diseased tissue from all infants showed significantly lower Shannon diversity in NEC (P = 0.026). The overall bacterial communities were also significantly different in NEC samples compared to SIP (P = 0.038), and large variability within NEC infants was observed. While no single OTU or genus was significantly associated with NEC or SIP, at the phylum level Proteobacteria (P = 0.045) and Bacteroidetes (P = 0.024) were significantly higher in NEC and SIP infants, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Existing banks of intestinal FFPE blocks provide a robust and specific sample for profiling the microbiota at the site of disease. We showed preterm infants with NEC have lower diversity and different bacterial communities when compared to SIP controls.
Project description:Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal emergency in premature infants. Immaturity of gastrointestinal immune regulation may predispose preterm infants to NEC as FOXP3 T regulatory cells (Treg) are critical for intestinal immune homoeostasis.To investigate the hypothesis that abnormal developmental regulation of lamina propria Treg would define premature infants with NEC.Lamina propria mononuclear cell populations from surgically resected ileum from 18 patients with NEC and 30 gestational age-matched non-NEC surgical controls were prospectively isolated. Polychromatic flow cytometry was performed to phenotype and analyse lamina propria T cell populations. The cytokine gene expression profile in NEC tissue was compared with that of non-NEC controls.The total number of Treg, CD4, or CD8 T cells in each ileum section was independent of gestational age, age or postmenstrual age and similar between patients with NEC and controls. In contrast, the ratio of Treg to CD4 T cells or Treg to CD8 T cells was significantly lower in NEC ileum than in infants without NEC (medians 2.9% vs 6.6%, p=0.001 and medians 6.6% vs 25.9%, p<0.001, respectively). For any given number of CD4 or CD8 T cells, Treg were, on average, 60% lower in NEC ileum than in controls. NEC tissue cytokine gene expression profiles were characteristic of inhibited Treg development or function. Treg/CD4 and Treg/CD8 ratios recovered between initial resection for NEC and reanastomosis.The proportion of lamina propria Treg is significantly reduced in the ileum of premature infants with NEC and may contribute to the excessive inflammatory state of this disease.
Project description:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) are the most common acute surgical emergencies associated with high morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. We aimed to compare the profiles of immunoregulatory proteins and identify novel mediators in plasma of NEC and SIP infants. We also investigated the expression of target genes in resected intestinal tissues and an enterocyte cell line. Using Cytokine Antibody Array assay, we reported the first comparative profiles of immunoregulatory proteins in plasma of NEC and SIP infants, and showed that dysregulated proteins belonged to functionally diversified categories, including pro- and anti-inflammation, angiogenesis, cell growth, wound healing, anti-apoptosis, cell adhesion and extracellular matrix reorganization. Validation by ELISA confirmed significantly higher concentrations of interleukin (IL)-6, angiopoietin (Ang)-2, soluble type II interleukin-1 receptor (sIL-1RII), and soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) in NEC infants compared with gestational age-matched control, and a lower level of an epidermal growth factor receptor, secreted form of receptor tyrosine-protein kinase ErbB3 (sErbB3), compared with SIP infants. mRNA expressions of IL1-RII and uPAR were up-regulated in resected bowel tissues from NEC infants, indicating that immunoregulation also occurred at the cellular level. In FHs-74 Int cells, Ang-2, IL1-RII and uPAR mRNA expressions were significantly induced by the combined treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and platelet activating factor (PAF). Our study provided plasmatic signatures of immunoregulatory proteins in NEC and SIP infants, and demonstrated involvement of multiple functional pathways. The magnitude of changes in these proteins was significantly more extensive in NEC infants, reflecting the different nature of injury and/or severity of inflammation. We speculate that dysregulation of IL-6, Ang-2, IL-1RII and uPAR occurred at both systemic and cellular levels, and probably mediated via LPS and endogeneous PAF signals. Such exaggerated immunologic responses may account for the high morbidity and mortality in NEC compared with SIP patients.
Project description:Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating intestinal disease that occurs primarily in premature infants. We performed genome-resolved metagenomic analysis of 1163 fecal samples from premature infants to identify microbial features predictive of NEC. Features considered include genes, bacterial strain types, eukaryotes, bacteriophages, plasmids, and growth rates. A machine learning classifier found that samples collected before NEC diagnosis harbored significantly more Klebsiella, bacteria encoding fimbriae, and bacteria encoding secondary metabolite gene clusters related to quorum sensing and bacteriocin production. Notably, replication rates of all bacteria, especially Enterobacteriaceae, were significantly higher 2 days before NEC diagnosis. The findings uncover biomarkers that could lead to early detection of NEC and targets for microbiome-based therapeutics.
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.