Plasma metabolomics to evaluate progression of necrotising enterocolitis in preterm pigs

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Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a microbiome-dependent gut disease in preterm infants in early life. Antibiotic treatment is a common intervention for NEC. How NEC lesions, with or without antibiotics, affect plasma metabolome was explored in this study. Formula-fed preterm pigs were used as a model for human NEC and treated with saline, parenteral or oral antibiotics (n = 15-17) for four days after delivery. Gut tissues were collected for evaluation of NEC-like lesions and plasma for metabolomic analysis by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR). Metabolites were annotated, quantified and subjected to statistical modelling to delineate the effects of NEC and antibiotic treatment. Presence of severe NEC lesions, not antibiotic treatment, was the main drive for plasma metabolite changes. Relative to other pigs, pigs with severe NEC lesions had higher levels of alanine, histidine and myo-inositol, and lower levels of 3-hydroxybutyric acid and isobutyric acid. Across NEC lesion states (healthy, mild, severe), antibiotics directly affected only a few metabolites (tryptophan, 3-phenyllactic acid). Together and independently, NEC and antibiotic treatment affected circulating metabolites in preterm pigs. Amino acids and plasma metabolites, partly related to the gut microbiome, may be helpful to monitor progression of NEC lesions after proper validation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number283
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • Amino acids, Antibiotics, Lipid metabolism, Metabolomics, Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)

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