Role of the host defense system and intestinal microbial flora in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis

Claudia N. Emami, Mikael Petrosyan, Stefano Giuliani, Monica Williams, Catherine Hunter, Nemani V. Prasadarao, Henri R. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that affects primarily the intestine of premature infants. Despite recent advances in neonatology, NEC remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in neonates. Neonatal mucosal defenses and adherence of bacterial pathogens may play an important role in the pathogenesis of NEC. Methods: Review and synthesis of pertinent literature. Results: Putative factors that have been implicated in the pathogenesis of NEC include abnormal patterns of gut colonization by bacteria, immaturity of the host immune system and mucosal defense mechanisms, intestinal ischemia, formula feeding, and loss of intestinal epithelial barrier integrity. Conclusion: Host defenses and intestinal microbial ecology are believed to play important roles in the pathogenesis of NEC. Commensal bacteria and probiotic therapy may be of therapeutic utility in the maintenance of the gut epithelial barrier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-417
Number of pages11
JournalSurgical infections
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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