Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Preterm gut microbiota and metabolome following discharge from intensive care

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher StewartORCiD, Dr Tom Skeath, Dr Sara Fernstad, Dr John Perry, Dr Janet Berrington, Professor Nicholas EmbletonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The development of the preterm gut microbiome is important for immediate and longer-term health following birth. We aimed to determine if modifications to the preterm gut on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) impacted the gut microbiota and metabolome long-term. Stool samples were collected from 29 infants ages 1-3 years post discharge (PD) from a single NICU. Additional NICU samples were included from 14/29 infants. Being diagnosed with disease or receiving increased antibiotics while on the NICU did not significantly impact the microbiome PD. Significant decreases in common NICU organisms including K. oxytoca and E. faecalis and increases in common adult organisms including Akkermansia sp., Blautia sp., and Bacteroides sp. and significantly different Shannon diversity was shown between NICU and PD samples. The metabolome increased in complexity, but while PD samples had unique bacterial profiles we observed comparable metabolomic profiles. The preterm gut microbiome is able to develop complexity comparable to healthy term infants despite limited environmental exposures, high levels of antibiotic administration, and of the presence of serious disease. Further work is needed to establish the direct effect of weaning as a key event in promoting future gut health.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stewart CJ, Skeath T, Nelson A, Fernstad SJ, Marrs ECL, Perry JD, Cummings SP, Berrington JE, Embleton ND

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2015

Volume: 5

Online publication date: 24/11/2015

Acceptance date: 26/10/2015

Date deposited: 01/03/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/srep17141

PubMed id: 26598071


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric