Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are known to provide energy to colonocytes, whereas overproduction of SCFAs can cause mucosal injury in premature infants. Our objective was to investigate the effects of the oral administration of Bifidobacterium breve M-16V (B breve) on fecal lactic acid and SCFAs in low birth weight (LBW) infants.Patients and Methods:
Fecal lactic, acetic, propionic, and butyric acids from 66 premature infants were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography at 0, 2, and 4 weeks after birth. The subjects included 22 extremely LBW (ELBW, <1000 g), 22 very LBW (VLBW, <1500 g), and 22 LBW (<2500 g) infants. The infants were divided into two groups: those with and those without B. breve supplementation.Results:
In the control groups, fecal acetic acid and total SCFA concentrations were significantly increased at 2 weeks in the VLBW and LBW infants (P < 0.05) and at 4 weeks in the ELBW, VLBW, and LBW infants (P < 0.01 for each) compared with those at week 0. Fecal lactic acid concentrations showed a similar pattern during follow-up, but the differences were not significant. Four weeks after B breve administration, the fecal butyric acid concentrations were significantly decreased in the ELBW and VLBW infants (P < 0.05 each), and the ratio of the acetic acid concentrations to the total SCFAs was significantly increased compared with those of the control groups in the ELBW (P < 0.05), VLBW (P < 0.05), and LBW infants (P < 0.01).Conclusions:
Oral administration of B breve reduces the production of butyric acid, which may be helpful in protecting LBW infants from digestive diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis.