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Intestinal microbiota development in the premature neonate: establishment of a lasting commensal relationship?

Maka Mshvildadze, Josef Neu, Volker Mai
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00119.x 658-663 First published online: 1 November 2008


The gastrointestinal tract of premature infants is a highly fragile organ due to numerous developmental immaturities. Exposure to luminal microbes in the first several weeks of these infants' lives may play a significant role in the development of short-term disease and may have profound effects on long-term health. New non-culture-based techniques are providing exciting new insights into how the intestinal microbiota of premature infants develops and relates to health. A brief summary of recent research in this area is presented, which may be adapted to nutritional strategies for disease prevention.

  • intestine
  • microbiome
  • microbiota
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • premature infant
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