Objective: To investigate the changes in the diversity and dynamics of intestinal microflora in patients with neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in a single center in China.
Methods: In this prospective study conducted between 2016 and 2019, feces were collected from 28 neonates with NEC and 30 control neonates to analyze the species richness and Shannon's diversity index of the bands, which were also sequenced via PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.
Results: The species richness and Shannon's diversity index were significantly lower in the NEC group than in the control group, indicating that the diversity of intestinal flora was reduced in NEC. The numbers of samples positive for Bacteroides and Klebsiella were higher in the NEC group, whereas Escherichia coli, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus were less frequently detected in patients with NEC than in controls. The prevalence of intestinal bacteria normalized after the resolution of NEC.
Conclusion: The decrease of intestinal flora diversity in neonates with NEC, especially the decreased prevalence of probiotic bacteria, may be an important factor in the pathogenesis of NEC.
Keywords: Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis; bacterial diversity; feces; intestinal microflora; pediatrics; probiotics; species richness.