Introduction: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains a significant surgical emergency in neonates. We have demonstrated the efficacy of Lactobacillus reuteri (Lr) in protecting against experimental NEC when administered as a biofilm by incubation with maltose loaded dextranomer microspheres. Lr possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. We developed mutant strains of Lr to examine the importance of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in protecting the intestines from NEC. Methods:: Premature rat pups were exposed to hypoxia/hypothermia/hypertonic feeds to induce NEC. To examine the importance of antimicrobial reuterin and anti-inflammatory histamine, pups received either native or mutant forms of Lr, in either its planktonic or biofilm states, prior to induction of NEC. Intestinal histology was examined upon sacrifice. Results:: Compared to no treatment, administration of a single dose of Lr in its biofilm state significantly decreased the incidence of NEC (67% vs. 18%, p < 0.0001), whereas Lr in its planktonic state had no significant effect. Administration of reuterin-deficient or histamine-deficient forms of Lr, in either planktonic or biofilm states, resulted in significant loss of efficacy. Conclusion:: Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of Lr contribute to its beneficial effects against NEC. This suggests that both infectious and inflammatory components contribute to the etiology of NEC.
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health