Saturday, October 28, 2023

Probiotics: Biofilm Formulation Protects The Intestines and Brain

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a deadly, debilitating disease that affects premature babies, causing inflamed intestinal tissue and even ischemia and necrosis of related tissue in severe cases. Children who manage to live to adulthood can face several lifelong challenges, like neurodevelopmental delays and short-gut syndrome. Oftentimes, NEC treatment involves surgical removal of the dying tissue.

Working to create a novel preventative solution, principal research investigators at Nationwide Children’s Center for Microbial Pathogenesis developed a probiotic system employing the durability of biofilm to improve probiotic administration to neonate patients. Hoping to demonstrate their model’s efficacy in an animal similar to humans, a piglet model of NEC was adapted to the study, providing the same care given to premature infants in terms of the medication and fluids, nasogastric tube feedings, and monitoring done and given. Overall, the data from the piglet model supported those of the initial rodent model, and the findings demonstrated that the Lr’s (Limosilactobacillus reuteri) biofilm protected both the brain and intestines from NEC, preventing the associated morbidity and mortality. 

Considering the severity of a child’s condition after developing NEC, it was interesting to learn about how bacterial biofilms (often having a negative connotation) could be applied to life-saving treatments to protect newborns. By using this piglet model, as well, we can better understand the safety issues associated with this biofilm formulation and provide a better foundation for researching neonatal risk for certain diseases. Potentially, a clinical trial may even be possible in the foreseeable future thanks to this model.

Click here for information

Click here for the journal article for the study information

1 comment:

  1. Hey Deena! I had no idea what Necrotizing enterocolitis was prior to seeing your post. I think it is extremely important that we continue to research this and it's causes to hopefully find a cure or even better treatment for this. I also found it very interesting that the Lr biofilm was able to protect the brain and intestines from NEC. It is super fascinating that something so small and basic can prevent the morbidity from this awful disease!