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Open AccessReview

The Role of Immunonutrients in the Prevention of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Very Low Birth Weight Infants

by Ping Zhou 1, Yanqi Li 2, Li-Ya Ma 1 and Hung-Chih Lin 3,4,*
1
Department of Neonatology, Bao’an Maternal and Child Health Hospital, Shenzhen 518133, Guangdong, China
2
Comparative Pediatrics and Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg DK-1870, Denmark
3
Children’s Hospital of China Medical University, No. 2 Yuh Der Road, Taichung 404, Taiwan
4
School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, No. 91 Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 404, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2015, 7(9), 7256-7270; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095334
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a critical intestinal emergency condition, which mainly occurs in preterm very low birth weight (PVLBW) infants. Despite remarkable advances in the care of PVLBW infants, with considerable improvement of the survival rate in recent decades, the incidence of NEC and NEC-related mortality have not declined accordingly. The fast progression from nonspecific signs to extensive necrosis also makes primary prevention the first priority. Recently, increasing evidence has indicated the important role of several nutrients in primary prevention of NEC. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize some potential immunomodulatory nutrients in the prevention of NEC, including bovine colostrum, probiotics, prebiotics (e.g., human milk oligosaccharides), long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and amino acids (glutamine, cysteine and N-acetylcysteine, l-arginine and l-citrulline). Based on current research evidence, probiotics are the most documented effective method to prevent NEC, while others still require further investigation in animal studies and clinical randomized controlled trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: necrotizing enterocolitis; very low birth weight infants; prevention; nutrients; probiotics necrotizing enterocolitis; very low birth weight infants; prevention; nutrients; probiotics
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Zhou, P.; Li, Y.; Ma, L.-Y.; Lin, H.-C. The Role of Immunonutrients in the Prevention of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Very Low Birth Weight Infants. Nutrients 2015, 7, 7256-7270.

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