Microbiome in Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

by Drs. Dimitra Skondra and Sarah Hilkert-Rodriguez

Researching associations between the microbiome and ocular disease

In partnership with the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago, our ophthalmologists Drs. Dimitra Skondra (retina) and Sarah Hilkert-Rodriguez (pediatrics) led a team who published the first report showing a difference in the composition of early gut microbiome in infants with severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

The study compared infants with type-1 ROP versus high-risk preterm neonates without ROP (but similar baseline risk factors). The infants with the type-1 ROP showed significant enrichment of Enterobacteriaceae at 28 weeks' postmenstrual age. Several metabolic pathways, including amino acid metabolism, were enriched in the gut microbiota of infants without ROP.

Based on these findings, the team posited a possible association between early gut microbiome profile and ROP pathogenesis. They also hypothesize that the absence of Enterobacteriaceae overabundance, in addition to enrichment of amino acid biosynthesis pathways, may protect against severe ROP in high-risk preterm infants.

Read the article here.

Reference: Skondra S, Hilkert-Rodriguez S, Sharma A, et al. The early gut microbiome could protect against severe retinopathy of prematurity. J AAPOS. 2020;24(4):236-38. 

Dimitra Skondra, MD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Sarah Hilkert Rodriguez, MD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

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