Probiotic research in neonates with congenital gastrointestinal surgical conditions - Now is the time

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Neonates with congenital gastrointestinal surgical conditions (CGISC) receive parenteral nutrition, get exposed to multiple courses of antibiotics, undergo invasive procedures, and are nursed in intensive care units. They do not receive early enteral feeding and have limited opportunities for skin to skin contact with their mothers. Many of these infants receive gastric acid suppression therapies. All these factors increase the risk of gut dysbiosis in these infants. Gut dysbiosis is known to be associated with increased risk of infections and other morbidities in ICU patients. Experimental studies have shown that probiotics inhibit gut colonization with pathogenic bacteria, enhance gut barrier function, facilitate colonization with healthy commensals, protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate, reduce antimicrobial resistance, enhance innate immunity, and increase the maturation of the enteric nervous system and promote gut peristalsis. Through these mechanisms, probiotics have the potential to decrease the risk of sepsis and inflammation, improve feed tolerance and minimise cholestasis in neonates with CGISC. Among preterm non-surgical infants, evidence from more than 35 RCTs and multiple observational studies have shown probiotics to be safe and beneficial. A RCT in neonates (N=24) with gastroschisis found that probiotic supplementation partially attenuated gut dysbiosis. Two ongoing RCTs (total N=168) in neonates with gastrointestinal surgical conditions are expected to provide feasibility data to enable the conduct of large RCTs. Rigorous quality assurance of the probiotic product, ongoing microbial surveillance and clinical vigilance are warranted while conducting such RCTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-258
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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