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Microbial Diversity ID’d in Gut of Low Birth Weight Infants

Last Updated: December 09, 2011.

The gut-associated microbiome of extremely low birth weight infants has microbial diversity and includes fungal species, bacteria, molds, viruses, parasitic organisms, and roundworms, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in PLoS One.

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The gut-associated microbiome of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants has microbial diversity and includes fungal species, bacteria, molds, viruses, parasitic organisms, and roundworms, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in PLoS One.

Mariam S. LaTuga, M.D., from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues investigated the microbial communities present in the gastrointestinal tracts of 11 ELBW infants. Deep pyrosequencing techniques were used to examine the gut-associated microbiome in the first postnatal month.

The investigators identified Candida and Clavispora as the most dominant fungal species, and observed a range of environmental molds. Ribosomal sequences corresponding to the parasitic organism Trichinella were observed in 71 percent of the infant fecal samples. Infants with the greatest proportion of Trichinella sequences also had ribosomal DNA sequences for the roundworm symbiont Xenorhabdus. Based on examination of ribosomal DNA sequences in aggregate, the most abundant bacterial taxa in the low-diversity bacterial community were Enterobacteriales, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Enterococcus, with limited variations in individual infants over time. Shotgun sequencing of DNA, from multiple displacement amplification of total fecal genomic DNA from two infants, revealed sequences for gram positive and negative bacteriophages, and human adenovirus C.

"These data reveal surprising eukaryotic and viral microbial diversity in ELBW enteric microbiota dominated by types of bacteria known to cause invasive disease in these infants," the authors write.

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