A randomised trial of enteral glutamine supplementation for very preterm children showed no beneficial or adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes

E. Sabrina Twilhaar, Jorrit F. de Kieviet, Jaap Oosterlaan, Ruurd M. van Elburg

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Aim: This study evaluated the long-term effects of enteral glutamine supplementation on neurodevelopmental outcomes of a Dutch cohort of very preterm children at 13 years of age. Methods: The cohort was enrolled in a randomised placebo-controlled trial between 2001 and 2003 in which infants received glutamine- or alanine-supplemented enteral nutrition during the first month of life. Participants were invited for follow-up at a mean age of 13.30 years. Motor, neurocognitive, academic and behavioural outcomes were assessed in 61 children. Results: No differences were found between the groups regarding motor, intellectual, academic and behavioural functioning. Forward span visuospatial working memory performance was better in the controls (crude/adjusted model: d = 0.67/0.64, p = 0.02/0.02), but no difference was found for backward span. After the data were adjusted for confounders, the groups differed regarding parent-rated attention (crude/adjusted model: d = 0.47/0.73, p = 0.07/0.003), but both groups scored within the normal range. Conclusion: This was the first study on the long-term effects of enteral glutamine supplementation on the neurodevelopmental outcomes of very preterm children. Our study provided no evidence that enteral glutamine supplementation had any beneficial or adverse effects on the children's motor, neurocognitive, academic and behavioural outcomes at 13 years of age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Cognition
  • Glutamine
  • Neonatology
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Nutrition
  • Preterm birth

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