Enteral High Fat-Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Blend Alters the Pathogen Composition of the Intestinal Microbiome in Premature Infants with an Enterostomy

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To determine the effect of enteral fish oil and safflower oil supplementation on the intestinal microbiome in infants with an enterostomy born premature.

Study design

Infants with an enterostomy born premature were randomized to receive early enteral supplementation with a high-fat polyunsaturated fatty acid (HF-PUFA) blend of fish oil and safflower oil vs standard nutritional therapy. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing for longitudinal profiling of the microbiome from the time of study entry until bowel reanastomosis. We used weighted gene coexpression network analysis to identify microbial community modules that differed between study groups over time. We performed imputed metagenomic analysis to determine metabolic pathways associated with the microbial genes.


Sixteen infants were randomized to receive enteral HF-PUFA supplementation, and 16 infants received standard care. The intestinal microbiota of infants in the treatment group differed from those in the control group, with greater bacterial diversity and lower abundance of Streptococcus, Clostridium, and many pathogenic genera within the Enterobacteriaceae family. We identified 4 microbial community modules with significant differences between groups over time. Imputed metagenomic analysis of the microbial genes revealed metabolic pathways that differed between groups, including metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and secondary bile acid synthesis.


Enteral HF-PUFA supplementation was associated with decreased abundance of pathogenic bacteria, greater bacterial diversity, and shifts in the potential metabolic functions of intestinal microbiota.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01306838

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