Establishment of the enteric microbiota in early infancy.

This observational study was carried out in two stages. In the first part of the study preterm infants of gestational age <32 weeks received a daily supplement of Lactobacillus acidophilus (ATCC 4356) and Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (ATCC 15697) at a 1:1 ratio from birth. The second leg of the trial involved probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 (ATCC SD5215), Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum Bl-05 (ATCC SD5588), Lactobacillus casei Lc-11 (ATCC SD5213) and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis with equal numbers for all four strains. This was orally administered to all preterm babies <36 weeks from birth. Both groups were supplemented until 36 weeks of gestational age. The study concluded that results show a significant increase of the global microbial community. It highlights the unique period of early infancy for the establishment of the enteric microbiota. Notably, almost all cases of NEC documented during the study period occurred in preterm neonates of the control group, confirming a significant protective effect of probiotic supplementation.

Niels van Best , Sonja Trepels-Kottek , Paul Savelkoul , Thorsten Orlikowsky , Mathias W. Hornef & John Penders (2020) Influence of probiotic supplementation on the developing microbiota in human preterm neonates, Gut Microbes, 12:1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2020.182674

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