Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bacterial Biomarker Hope


Necrotizing enterocolitis is one of the most common causes of death in premature infants – but by the time of onset, it’s already difficult to treat. Barbara Warner suggests that changes to the gut microbiome might allow pathologists to predict the disease.

Warner and her colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases examined stool samples from 46 premature infants who developed NEC and 120 age-, birthweight- and birthdate-matched infants who did not. Genetic sequencing and statistical analysis revealed that the NEC population had significantly higher proportions of Gammaproteobacteria in their gut microbiome, and lower proportions of Clostridia and Negativicutes. This discovery raises many more questions for the researchers. “We hypothesize that the potential driver(s) behind this microbial signature could be related to the microbial community itself, the host, or both,” Warner explains. “Is it that specific pioneering microbes set the stage for subsequent colonization patterns? What then would be the determinants of those pioneering microbes? Alternatively, could it be that the host response is a determinant of which microbial community evolves? Preterm infants have an immature immune system, and it is increasingly evident that the gut microbiome and host immune systems are in a close reciprocal relationship that may be impacted by that immaturity.”

For further details, see The Pathologist

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle