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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Gastrointestinal function development and microbiota

Antonio Di Mauro1, Josef Neu2, Giuseppe Riezzo3, Francesco Raimondi4, Domenico Martinelli1, Ruggiero Francavilla1 and Flavia Indrio1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza G Cesare, Bari, Italy

2 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

3 Lab of Experimental Pathophysiology, IRCCS Castellana Grotte, Castellana Grotte, Italy

4 University Federico II, Naples, Italy

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Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 39:15  doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-15

Published: 24 February 2013

Abstract

The intestinal microbiota plays an important role in the development of post-natal gastrointestinal functions of the host. Recent advances in our capability to identify microbes and their function offer exciting opportunities to evaluate the complex cross talk between microbiota, intestinal barrier, immune system and the gut-brain axis. This review summarizes these interactions in the early colonization of gastrointestinal tract with a major focus on the role of intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of feeding intolerance in preterm newborn. The potential benefit of early probiotic supplementation opens new perspectives in case of altered intestinal colonization at birth as preventive and therapeutic agents.

Keywords:
Intestinal microbiota; Feeding intolerance; Microbial effect on gastrointestinal function development