Necrotizing enterocolitis: research agenda for a disease of unknown etiology and pathogenesis

Pediatr Res. 1993 Dec;34(6):701-8. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199312000-00001.


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a significant neonatal public health problem that affects low-birth weight infants in neonatal intensive care units throughout the country. As the survival rate of low-birth weight infants continues to increase and as the number of low-birth weight births remains unchanged, we can anticipate that NEC will continue to be a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in the future. Despite many reports about NEC that describe demographic risk factors and short-term or long-term outcome, there is a paucity of basic science information about neonatal gastrointestinal physiology and pathophysiology in human preterm and even full-term infants. It has become increasingly evident that we need a much better understanding about the developmental aspects of gastrointestinal function in health and disease before we can achieve further advances in our understanding of and thus rational therapy for and prevention of NEC. The purpose of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conference "Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Basic Science Approaches to Gut Maturation and Pathogenesis" was to bring together basic science investigators, clinical epidemiologists, and clinical scientists to identify important areas of research that need to be applied to the problem of NEC. The concept of applying the "bench to bedside" type of collaborative research was emphasized and encouraged because many clinical neonatologists may have little scientific interaction with basic scientists. In addition, many basic scientists may be unaware of NEC and the implications for targeted research related to this disease.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Digestive System / immunology
  • Digestive System / injuries
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / etiology*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / complications
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Research Design
  • United States