Gastrointestinal maturation and feeding

Semin Perinatol. 2006 Apr;30(2):77-80. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2006.02.007.


The intestine serves not only as a digestive absorptive organ, it is also one of the largest immune organs of the body, has a huge endocrine and exocrine role, and also encompasses neural tissue equivalent to that of the entire spinal cord. The microbial microenvironment also plays a critical role in development. This brief overview of developmental aspects of these intestinal functions will be related to clinical problems in the neonatal period and subsequent health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enterocolitis / etiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / embryology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / growth & development*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intestines / growth & development
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy