Mucosa-associated bacterial diversity in necrotizing enterocolitis

Rachel Brower-Sinning, Diana Zhong, Misty Good, Brian Firek, Robyn Baker, Chhinder P. Sodhi, David J. Hackam, Michael J. Morowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies of infant fecal samples have failed to clarify the role of gut bacteria in the pathogenesis of NEC. We sought to characterize bacterial communities within intestinal tissue resected from infants with and without NEC. Methods: 26 intestinal samples were resected from 19 infants, including 16 NEC samples and 10 non-NEC samples. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were amplified and sequenced. Analysis allowed for taxonomic identification, and quantitative PCR was used to quantify the bacterial load within samples. Results: NEC samples generally contained an increased total burden of bacteria. NEC and non-NEC sample sets were both marked by high inter-individual variability and an abundance of opportunistic pathogens. There was no statistically significant distinction between the composition of NEC and non-NEC microbial communities. K-means clustering enabled us to identify several stable clusters, including clusters of NEC and midgut volvulus samples enriched with Clostridium and Bacteroides. Another cluster containing both NEC and non-NEC samples was marked by an abundance of Enterobacteriaceae and decreased diversity among NEC samples. Conclusions: The results indicate that NEC is a disease without a uniform pattern of microbial colonization, but that NEC is associated with an abundance of strict anaerobes and a decrease in community diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere105046
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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