Skin-Microbiome Assembly in Preterm Infants during the First Three Weeks of Life and Impact of Topical Coconut Oil Application

Noor-Ul-Huda Ghori, Christopher A Mullally, Mark P Nicol, Andrew Currie, Julie Hibbert, Matthew S Payne, Sanjay Patole, Tobias Strunk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The structure and function of infant skin is not fully developed until 34 weeks of gestation, and this immaturity is associated with risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS). Topical coconut oil improves preterm-infant skin integrity and may reduce LOS. However, data on early-life skin-microbiome succession and potential effects of emollient skin care in preterm infants are scarce. We therefore collected skin-microbiome samples from the ear, axilla, and groin on days 1, 7, 14, and 21 from preterm infants born <30 weeks of gestation as part of a randomized clinical trial of standard skin care vs. topical coconut oil. We found that within-sample microbiome diversity was highest on day 1 after birth, with a subsequent decline and emergence of Staphylococcus genus dominance from day 7. Moreover, microbiome assembly was less diverse in infants receiving coconut oil vs. standard skin care. Our study provides novel data on preterm-infant skin-microbiome composition and highlights the modifying potential of emollient skin care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16626
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume24
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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