10% of very low birthweight premature infants develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an intestinal infection that can cause serious complications and death. Researchers have found it may be possible to prevent the inflammation responsible for NEC by feeding these infants their own mothers’ expressed breastmilk combined with a probiotic.
Full details are available in this PLoS One open access article (February 2020), funded in part by a grant from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) to the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School.
Researchers in Boston and their colleagues at the State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing intend to continue investigating how a mother’s breastmilk and a probiotic such as Bifidobacterium infantis can reduce the severity and incidence of NEC. Their findings have the potential to form the basis for the general treatment approach to preventing NEC in all premature infants at risk.
In connection, the anti-inflammatory molecule produced by breastmilk and Bifidobacterium infantis has now been identified. You can find the abstract and full text article options in the January 2020 issue of Pediatric Research.