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Microbiome DOI:10.1186/2049-2618-2-36

Intestinal microbiota of preterm infants differ over time and between hospitals.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsTaft, DH, Ambalavanan, N, Schibler, KR, Yu, Z, Newburg, DS, Ward, DV, Morrow, AL
Date Published2014

BACKGROUND: Intestinal microbiota are implicated in risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and sepsis, major diseases of preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Rates of these diseases vary over time and between NICUs, but time and NICU comparisons of the intestinal microbiota of preterm infants are lacking.

METHODS: We included 66 singleton infants

RESULTS: Significant variation was observed in infant microbiota by year and hospital. Among hospital 1 infants, week 1 samples had more phylum Firmicutes (class Bacilli, families Clostridiaceae and Enterococcaceae) in 2010 and more phylum Proteobacteria (family Enterobacteriaceae) in 2011; week 2 samples did not significantly vary over time. However, among hospital 2 infants, the week 1 shift was nearly opposite, with more Proteobacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) in 2010 and more Firmicutes (Bacilli) in 2011; week 2 samples exhibited the same pattern. Regression analysis of clinical covariates found that antibiotic use had an important influence but did not explain these observed shifts in microbiota over time and between hospitals. Microbial succession also differed by hospital, with greater change in microbiota in hospital 1 than hospital 2 infants (p 

CONCLUSION: Colonizing microbiota differ over time and between NICUs in ways that could be relevant to disease. Multi-site, longitudinal studies are needed to reliably define the impact of intestinal microbiota on adverse outcomes of preterm infants.


Alternate JournalMicrobiome
PubMed ID25332767
PubMed Central IDPMC4203463
Grant ListP30 DK078392 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States