Gastrointestinal function development and microbiota
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
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 39:15 doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-15Published: 24 February 2013
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.