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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2000;30 Suppl 2:S2-7.

Role of nutrients and bacterial colonization in the development of intestinal host defense.

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Division of Nutrition, Harvard Medical School, Combined Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


In this introduction to the supplement on the use of pre- and probiotics in the health and disease of pediatric patients, I have summarized factors affecting the initial colonization of the neonatal intestine. The term bacterial-epithelial cross-talk was defined, and examples of the enterocyte response to both pathologic and indigenous flora stimulation illustrated. Immaturities in the human neonatal intestinal response to bacteria and their toxins were reviewed in the context of the pathogenesis of age-specific, bacterial gastrointestinal infectious diseases. Finally, the importance of pre- and probiotics as measures to strengthen the neonate's intestinal host defenses in the prevention and treatment of specific age-related disease were considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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