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Pediatr Res. 1998 Oct;44(4):519-23.

Early feeding, antenatal glucocorticoids, and human milk decrease intestinal permeability in preterm infants.

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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston 77030, USA.


To determine the effects of age, feeding regimen, and antenatal glucocorticoids on intestinal permeability, preterm infants (n = 132) were stratified by gestational age and by diet (mothers' own milk versus preterm formula), and assigned randomly to one of four feeding regimens: early-continuous, early-bolus, standard-continuous, and standard-bolus. At 10, 28, and 50 d of age permeability was determined by measuring the ratio of lactulose/ mannitol in the urine after the two sugars were administered enterally for 30 h. The mean (+/-SE) birth weight and gestational age of the infants were 1044 +/- 13 g and 27 +/- 0.1 wk, respectively. Permeability changed as a function of age (p = 0.003). Early feeding was associated with a reduction in permeability at 10 d of age (p = 0.01). Antenatal steroid administration was associated with decreased permeability at 28 d of age (p = 0.017). The feeding of human milk (versus formula) was associated with decreased permeability at 28 d of age (p = 0.02). Continuous versus bolus feeding did not affect permeability.

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