Feeding intolerance, inflammation, and neurobehaviors in preterm infants

Tiffany A. Moore, Rita H. Pickler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose Identifying relationships between feeding intolerance (FI), inflammation, and early measures of neurodevelopment may provide the basis for clinically relevant assessments for NICU clinicians and staff. The purpose of this secondary analysis was to examine the relationship of FI to inflammatory markers and/or neurobehaviors in the first week of life. Methods This was a retrospective, matched case-control design with data drawn from 114 infants born at ≤32 weeks gestation. Results Eight infants developed FI prior to full enteral feedings. These infants were more likely to have dysregulated levels of cytokines, specifically IL-6, and lower neurodevelopmental scores compared to infants without FI. Conclusions Results suggest physiologic dysregulation and an immature nervous system may contribute to the phenomenon of FI in preterm infants. Further research to identify the role of the brain–gut–immune axis on FI and other GI complications in this population is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neonatal Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Allostatic load
  • Brain–gut–immune axis
  • Feeding intolerance
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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