Cytokine responses in very low birth weight infants receiving glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition

A. van den Berg, R.M. van Elburg, L. Vermeij, A. van Zwol, G. Brink, J.W.R. Twisk, E.E.S. Nieuwenhuis, W.P.F. Fetter

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OBJECTIVE:: Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants receiving glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition may present with a lower infection rate, which may result from enhanced antimicrobial innate or Th1 cytokine responses. We investigated whether glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition in VLBW infants increased these cytokine responses following in vitro stimulation of whole blood cells. METHODS:: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial, VLBW infants (gestational age <32 weeks and/or birth weight <1500 g) received enteral glutamine supplementation (0.3 g · kg · day) or isonitrogenous placebo supplementation (alanine) between days 3 and 30 of life. Cytokine responses following in vitro whole blood cell stimulation with anti-(α)CD3/αCD28 or lipopolysaccharide were analyzed by cytometric bead array at 3 time points: before the start of the study, at day 7 of life, and at day 14 of life. RESULTS:: Baseline patient and nutritional characteristics were not different between groups. At least 2 blood samples were analyzed in 25 of 52 (48%) and 38 of 50 (76%) infants in the glutamine-supplemented and control groups, respectively. Glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition was not associated with significant alterations in cytokine responses (interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin [IL]-2, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10) of peripheral blood cells upon stimulation with either anti-αCD3/αCD28 or lipopolysaccharide. CONCLUSIONS:: We hypothesize that glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition decreases the infection rate in VLBW infants by influencing the mucosal and not the systemic immune system. © 2008 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-101
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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