Diet-dependent mucosal colonization and interleukin-1<tex>$\beta$</tex> responses in preterm pigs susceptible to necrotizing enterocolitis
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
, p. 90-98
University of Antwerp
Objectives: Intestinal colonization challenges the neonatal innate immune system, especially in newborns with an immature immune response lacking the supportive bioactive components from mother's milk. Accordingly, formula-fed preterm pigs frequently show bacterial overgrowth, mucosal atrophy, and gut lesions reflecting necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) within the first days after birth. We hypothesized that NEC development is related to a diet-dependent bacterial adherence and a subsequent proinflammatory cytokine response in the gut mucosa immediately after introduction of enteral food. Materials and Methods: Premature piglets (92% gestation) received 2 to 3 days of total parenteral nutrition followed by 0, 8, or 17 hours of enteral formula or sow's colostrum feeding. Results: Following 8 hours, but not 17 hours, of colostrum feeding, a reduced number of intestinal samples with adherent bacteria (both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria) was counted compared with 0 or 8 hours of formula feeding. Besides a more dense colonization, formula feeding leads to higher intestinal interleukin-1â (IL-1â) levels and more NEC-like lesions from 8 hours onward. The load of adherent bacteria was especially high in NEC lesions. Toll-like receptor 4 was detected in enteroendocrine, neuronal, and smooth muscle cells, potentially mediating the increase in IL-1â levels by Gram-negative bacteria. Conclusions: Formula feeding facilitates bacterial adherence and the development of a proinflammatory state of the intestine, which may be among the key factors that predispose formula-fed preterm neonates to NEC.