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Open AccessArticle

Bacteriological and Immunological Profiling of Meconium and Fecal Samples from Preterm Infants: A Two-Year Follow-Up Study

Departamento de Nutrición, Bromatología y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Servicio de Pediatría Hospital Francesc de Borja, 46702 Gandía, Valencia, Spain
Probisearch, SLU, Tres Cantos, 28760 Madrid, Spain
Servicio de Neonatología, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, 28041 Madrid, Spain, Red SAMID
Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: National Institute for Health and Environment, 3721 MA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
Nutrients 2017, 9(12), 1293;
Received: 28 September 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 22 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prebiotics and Probiotics)
An abnormal colonization pattern of the preterm gut may affect immune maturation and exert a long-term influence on the intestinal bacterial composition and host health. However, follow-up studies assessing the evolution of the fecal microbiota of infants that were born preterm are very scarce. In this work, the bacterial compositions of fecal samples, obtained from sixteen 2-year-old infants were evaluated using a phylogenetic microarray; subsequently, the results were compared with those obtained in a previous study from samples of meconium and feces collected from the same infants while they stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In parallel, the concentration of a wide range of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and immunoglobulins were determined in meconium and fecal samples. Globally, a higher bacterial diversity and a lower interindividual variability were observed in 2-year-olds’ feces, when compared to the samples obtained during their first days of life. Hospital-associated fecal bacteria, that were dominant during the NICU stay, seemed to be replaced, two years later, by genera, which are usually predominant in the healthy adult microbiome. The immune profile of the meconium and fecal samples differed, depending on the sampling time, showing different immune maturation statuses of the gut. View Full-Text
Keywords: prematurity; infant gut microbiota; DNA microarray; immune maturation prematurity; infant gut microbiota; DNA microarray; immune maturation
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Gómez, M.; Moles, L.; Espinosa-Martos, I.; Bustos, G.; De Vos, W.M.; Fernández, L.; Rodríguez, J.M.; Fuentes, S.; Jiménez, E. Bacteriological and Immunological Profiling of Meconium and Fecal Samples from Preterm Infants: A Two-Year Follow-Up Study. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1293.

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