An assistant professor at Rutgers University's Department of Genetics DrMichael Verzi who is also the lead author of the study said "At this time we think the discovery that mitochondrial metabolism is a hallmark of mature intestinal development may provide a new way to screen and diagnose NEC before children are born, or at the time of their birth. Early detection of NEC would give doctors a chance to head off the disease before it's too late."
‘Mitochondrial deficiency linked to Necrotizing Enterocolitis can be used to for early diagnosis’
This condition is a serious condition with aggressive treatment necessary during the early stages of the condition to help the baby recover. In many instances the condition is fatal, therefore early detection of this condition is imperative for the right treatment.
This condition is treated using IV antibiotics and surgery aggressively. The possible complications of this condition include:
- Perforations in the intestine
- Short bowel syndrome
- Intestinal stricture
- Liver problems
The mitochondria is called the powerhouse of the cell and the genetic material present in the mitochondria are inherited solely from the mother. This is because the mitochondria is present in the fluid or the cytoplasm surrounding the nucleus in the egg while the sperm leaves its cell and penetrates the nucleus of the egg.
The researchers in the study found that necrotizing enterocolitis was due to mitochondrial deficiencies that did not let the intestines mature fully during pregnancy. This can be used to detect the condition during pregnancy or soon after delivery so that effective treatment and support may be provided as soon as possible.
DrVerzi added "Without this metabolic process, the intestine cannot fully mature. If children are born before their intestine is fully developed, it can lead to severe inflammation that leads to tissue death.He further added "This shift in metabolism during intestinal development has never been recognized as crucial for intestinal growth to take place. We think that the deficiencies in this important mitochondrial function serve not only as a cause for NEC but also could become a marker to help identify babies at risk."