The Gut Microbiome of Premature Infants: An Ecological Analysis of a Probiotic Intervention Study
AdvisorArrieta, Marie Claire
Committee MemberLacaze-Masmonteil, Thierry
Medicine and Surgery
extreme low birth weight
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AbstractPreterm infants are a unique population of patients, as prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age, and survivors are extremely challenged during their early and future life 1. Due to prematurity on every system, challenges faced by preterm infant early and later in life include, and are not limited to respiratory, digestive, immune, neurological, and growth-related conditions that can lead to life threatening complications and an increased risk to several diseases later in life 2-4. Probiotic strains are increasingly used in preterm infants due to their potential to reduce mortality and morbidities in this population. However, due to reduced evidence on safety and efficacy, these are not routinely used in extremely premature infants. The infant gut undergoes important developmental stages that are dependent upon the colonization with microorganism, beginning at birth 5. While it is well established that the premature gut microbiome exhibits profound alterations, the ecological patterns of microbial assembly and succession in preterm infants remained understudied and have only included bacteria. Moreover, it is not well understood how these processes are impacted by probiotics. The goal of my MSc research is to determine if probiotics use changes gut colonization patterns of the gut microbiome during and after treatment, and if the probiotic strains can persist in the gut of extremely premature infants. We showed a successful colonization of probiotics strains in the gut of extremely low birth weight preterm infants in addition to significant ecological changes of bacterial and fungal microbiome during the probiotic’s consumption and up to 6 months after treatment cessation. Our results confirmed that early life colonization with healthy bacteria beneficially impacts the future microbiome in extremely preterm infants.
CitationSamara, J. (2021). The gut microbiome of premature infants: an ecological analysis of a probiotic intervention study (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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