Rat Milk Decreases Necrotizing Enterocolitis in a Rat Model
Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common and devastating gastrointestinal tract (GI) disease of prematurely born infants. The pathogenesis of NEC is unknown, but intestinal immaturity, enteral feeding, intestinal hypoxia/ischemia, and bacterial colonization are considered the major risk factors for development of NEC (Caplan & Jilling 2001). Clinical studies indicate that human milk, which provides hormones, cytokines, growth factors, and nucleotides that facilitate maturation of the intestinal mucosal barrier and other essential intestinal functions, plays a protective role against this disease (Schanler 2001; Lucas & Cole 1990). However, factor(s) responsible for the protective effect remain to be identified. We have shown that supplementation of formula with epidermal growth factor (EGF), a peptide normally present in human milk but absent in infant formula, is highly protective against NEC in a rat experimental model (Dvorak et al. 2002; Crissinger 1995). In this model, NEC is induced in neonatal rats via enteral feeding of cow milk-based formula coupled with asphyxia and cold stress. Using this method, approximately 80% of neonatal rats develop NEC within 4 days (Dvorak et al. 2002; Halpern et al. 2002). The aim of this study was to examine the effect of artificial feeding of rat milk versus cow milk-based formula on development of NEC in a neonatal rat model.
KeywordsCold Stress Human Milk Enteral Feeding Artificial Feeding Physiol Gastrointest Liver
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