Maturation of gastric electrical activity, gastric emptying and intestinal permeability in preterm newborns during the first month of life
1 Laboratory of Experimental Pathophysiology, National Institute for Digestive Diseases IRCCS, Saverio de Bellis, 70013 Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy
2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Bari Policlinico, Piazza G Cesare, 70124, Bari, Italy
3 Department of Pediatrics, University Federico II Policlinico, Via S Pansini 12, 80100, Naples Italy
4 Department of Pediatrics, Ospedale Fatebenefratelli, 80100, Naples, Italy
5 Department of Pediatrics, Ospedale Sangiovanni di Dio, 21009, Crotone, Italy
6 Department of Organ Transplantation, Division of Gastroenterology, 70124 University of Bari Policlinico, Piazza G. Cesare, Bari, Italy
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2009, 35:6 doi:10.1186/1824-7288-35-6Published: 15 March 2009
Immaturity of motility, intestinal epithelial barrier function and absorptive capacity may play a role in the pathophysiology of intestinal diseases in preterms. We determined the gastric electrical activity and emptying, and intestinal permeability, in preterm newborns to verify if a maturation pattern exists in preterm newborns during the first month of life.
Patients and methods
Eighteen preterm newborns (median 34 wks, range 2 wks) completed the study. They underwent the recording of gastric electrical activity by means of cutaneous electrogastrography, the ultrasound examination of gastric emptying, and the lactulose-to-mannitol ratio from permeability-absorption test on days 3, 7, 15, and 30 after birth.
Gastric electrical activity and emptying showed only slight changes between day 3 and day 7. On the contrary, an evident maturation in permeability, expressed as L/Mratio, was evident over time (Friedman Repeated Measures Analysis, p = 0.004).
In preterm healthy newborns of 34 weeks gestational age, electrical and motor activity are completely developed at birth whilst the intestinal epithelial barrier clearly improves during the first week of life.