The high susceptibility of neonates to intestinal infections has been assumed to be largely due to immaturity of the immune system, but the mechanism remains unclear. Resident intestinal bacteria provide several benefits to the host. A major function of the gut microbiota is to protect the host against colonization by pathogens; however, the specific group of bacteria that mediates colonization resistance is unknown.
intestinal resident bacteria mediate protection against gut pathogens
By using adult germ-free mice, neonatal microbiota was shown to be impaired in mediating colonization resistance against two major pathogens causing mortality in neonates. The lack of colonization resistance was caused by the absence of a particular species of bacteria in the neonatal microbiota; its administration protected neonatal mice from pathogens including Salmonella and types of pathogenic E. coli, and in addition, depletion of the species abolished the colonization resistance in adult mice. This data demonstrates the importance of this species in the protection against pathogens and supports using probiotics or prebiotics to impact its growth in the gut of susceptible individuals.
- neonatal treatment against enteric pathogens
- Reduced side-effects compared to antibiotics
- Species are not currently in probiotics
- Prebiotics supporting colonization of this species