Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is among the most relevant gastrointestinal diseases affecting mostly prematurely born infants with low birth weight. While intestinal dysbiosis has been proposed as one of the possible factors involved in NEC pathogenesis, the role of the gut microbiota remains poorly understood. In this study, the gut microbiota of preterm infants was explored to highlight differences in the composition between infants affected by NEC and infants prior to NEC development. A large-scale gut microbiome analysis was performed, including 47 shotgun sequencing data sets generated in the framework of this study, along with 124 retrieved from publicly available repositories. Meta-analysis led to the identification of preterm community state types (PT-CSTs), which recur in healthy controls and NEC infants. Such analyses revealed an overgrowth of a range of opportunistic microbial species accompanying the loss of gut microbial biodiversity in NEC subjects. Moreover, longitudinal insights into preterm infants prior to NEC development indicated Clostridium neonatale and Clostridium perfringens species as potential biomarkers for predictive early diagnosis of this disease. Furthermore, functional investigation of the enzymatic reaction profiles associated with pre-NEC condition suggested DL-lactate as a putative metabolic biomarker for early detection of NEC onset.
Unraveling the microbiome of necrotizing enterocolitis: Insights in novel microbial and metabolomic biomarkers / Tarracchini, C.; Milani, C.; Longhi, G.; Fontana, F.; Mancabelli, L.; Pintus, R.; Lugli, Gabriele A.; Alessandri, G.; Anzalone, R.; Viappiani, A.; Turroni, F.; Mussap, M.; Dessi, A.; Marincola, F. C.; Noto, A.; De Magistris, A.; Vincent, M.; Bernasconi, S.; Picaud, J. -C.; Fanos, V.; Ventura, M.. - In: MICROBIOLOGY SPECTRUM. - ISSN 2165-0497. - 9:2(2021), p. e01176-21.e0117621. [10.1128/Spectrum.01176-21]
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