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Development of the Preterm Gut Microbiome in Twins at Risk of Necrotising Enterocolitis and Sepsis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Stewart, Dr Clare Lanyon, Dr John Perry, Professor Nicholas Embleton, Dr Janet Berrington

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Abstract

The preterm gut microbiome is a complex dynamic community influenced by genetic and environmental factors and is implicated in the pathogenesis of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) and sepsis. We aimed to explore the longitudinal development of the gut microbiome in preterm twins to determine how shared environmental and genetic factors may influence temporal changes and compared this to the expressed breast milk (EBM) microbiome. Stool samples (n = 173) from 27 infants (12 twin pairs and 1 triplet set) and EBM (n = 18) from 4 mothers were collected longitudinally. All samples underwent PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) analysis and a selected subset underwent 454 pyrosequencing. Stool and EBM shared a core microbiome dominated by Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococcaceae, and Staphylococcaceae. The gut microbiome showed greater similarity between siblings compared to unrelated individuals. Pyrosequencing revealed a reduction in diversity and increasing dominance of Escherichia sp. preceding NEC that was not observed in the healthy twin. Antibiotic treatment had a substantial effect on the gut microbiome, reducing Escherichia sp. and increasing other Enterobacteriaceae.This study demonstrates related preterm twins share similar gut microbiome development, even within the complex environment of neonatal intensive care. This is likely a result of shared genetic and immunomodulatory factors as well as exposure to the same maternal microbiome during birth, skin contact and exposure to EBM. Environmental factors including antibiotic exposure and feeding are additional significant determinants of community structure, regardless of host genetics.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Stewart CJ, Marrs ECL, Nelson A, Lanyon C, Perry JD, Embleton ND, Cummings SP, Berrington JE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 30/08/2013

Acceptance date: 22/07/2013

Date deposited: 04/11/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073465

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073465


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