Effect of Enteral Vitamin A on Fecal Calprotectin in Extremely Preterm Infants: A Nested Prospective Observational Study

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Background: Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. We aimed to assess whether enteral water-soluble vitamin A supplementation in extremely preterm infants decreases fecal calprotectin, a marker of intestinal inflammation. Methods: This was a prospective observational study nested in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating enteral vitamin A (5,000 IU/day) for reducing the severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in extremely preterm infants. Fecal calprotectin levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay after 28 days of Vitamin A or placebo supplementation. Results: Fecal calprotectin was measured in 66 infants (Vitamin A: 33, Placebo: 33). The mean (standard deviation) gestational age (25.5 [1.55] vs. 25.8 [1.48]; p = 0.341) (week), birth weight (810 [200] vs. 877 [251]; p = 0.240) (gram), and factors influencing fecal calprotectin levels were comparable between the vitamin A versus placebo group infants. All infants were exclusively fed with mother's or donor's human breast milk if mother's milk was unavailable using a standardized feeding regimen and received prophylactic probiotic supplementation. Fecal calprotectin levels (median; 25th-75th centiles) (micrograms/gram of feces) were not significantly different between vitamin A (152; 97-212) and placebo groups (179; 91-313) (p = 0.195). Two infants in the vitamin A group developed definite necrotizing enterocolitis compared to none in the placebo group. Incidence of BPD at 36 weeks postmenstrual age was similar between the groups (vitamin A: 18/33, placebo: 13/33, p = 0.218). Conclusion: Enteral supplementation with water-soluble vitamin A did not affect fecal calprotectin levels in extremely preterm infants. Studies with a larger sample size are required to confirm the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Early online date10 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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