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Microbiome in Critical illness: An Unconventional and Unknown Ally

Author(s):

Christian Zanza*, Tatsiana Romenskaya, Duraiyah Thangathurai, Veronica Ojetti, Angela Saviano, Ludovico Abenavoli, Chiara Robba, Gianmaria Cammarota, Francesco Franceschi, Andrea Piccioni and Yaroslava Longhitano  

Abstract:


Background: The digestive tract represents an interface between the external environment and the body where the interaction of a complex polymicrobial ecology has an important influence on health and disease. The physiological mechanisms that are altered during the hospitalization and in the intensive care unit (ICU) contribute to the pathobiota’s growth. Intestinal dysbiosis occurs within hours of being admitted to ICU. This may be due to different factors, such as alterations of normal intestinal transit, administration of variuos medications or alterations in the intestinal wall which causes a cascade of events that will lead to the increase of nitrates and decrease of oxygen concentration, liberation of free radicals.

Objective: This work aims to report the latest updates on the microbiota’s contribution to developing sepsis in patients in the ICU department. In this short review were reviewed the latest scientific findings on the mechanisms of intestinal immune defenses performed both locally and systemically. In addition, we considered it necessary to review the literature to report the current best treatment strategies to prevent the infection spread which can bring systemic infections in patients admitted to ICU.

Material and Methods: This review has been written to answer at three main questions: what are the main intestinal flora’s defense mechanisms that help us to prevent the risk of developing systemic diseases on a day-to-day basis? What are the main dysbiosis’ systemic abnormalities? What are the modern strategies that are used in the ICU patients to prevent the infection spread? Using the combination of following keywords: microbiota and ICU, ICU and gut, microbiota and critical illness, microbiota and critical care, microbiota and sepsis, microbiota and infection, gastrointestinal immunity,in the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, the Cochrane Library, medline and pubmed, google scholar, ovid/wiley. Finally, we reviewed and selected 72 articles. We also consulted the site ClinicalTrials.com to find out studies that are recently conducted or ongoing.

Results: The critical illness can alter intestinal bacterial flora leading to homeostasis disequilibrium. Despite numerous mechanisms, such as epithelial cells with calciform cells that together build a mechanical barrier for pathogenic bacteria, the presence of mucous associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) which stimulates an immune response through the production of interferon-gamma (IFN-y) and THN-a or by stimulating lymphocytes T helper-2 produces anti-inflammatory cytokines. But these defenses can be altered following a hospitalization in ICU and lead to serious complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), health care associated pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), Systemic infection and multiple organ failure (MOF), but also in the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). In addition, the microbiota has a significant impact on the development of intestinal complications and the severity of the SARS-COVID-19 patients.

Conclusion: The microbiota is recognized as one of the important factors that can worsen the clinical conditions of patients who are already very frailty in intensive care unit. At the same time, the microbiota also plays a crucial role in the prevention of ICU associated complications. By using the resources, we have available, such as probiotics, symbiotics or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), we can preserve the integrity of the microbiota and the GUT, which will later help maintain homeostasis in ICU patients.

Keywords:

microbiota and ICU, ICU and GUT, microbiota and critical illness, microbiota and critical care, sepsis, infection, gastrointestinal immunity, SARS-COVID19

Affiliation:

Department of Emergency Medicine Division, Policlinico Gemelli/IRCCS- University of Catholic of Sacred Heart, Rome, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine – AON St. Antonio and Biagio and Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Department of Anesthesiology – Keck Medical School of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Department of Emergency Medicine Division, Policlinico Gemelli/IRCCS- University of Catholic of Sacred Heart, Rome, Department of Emergency Medicine Division, Policlinico Gemelli/IRCCS- University of Catholic of Sacred Heart, Rome, Department of Health Sciences, University "Magna Graecia", Catanzaro, Department of Surgical Sciences and Diagnostic Integrated, University of Genoa, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Section of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, and Intensive Care, University of Perugia, Perugia, Department of Emergency Medicine Division, Policlinico Gemelli/IRCCS- University of Catholic of Sacred Heart, Rome, Department of Emergency Medicine Division, Policlinico Gemelli/IRCCS- University of Catholic of Sacred Heart, Rome, Foundation of “Ospedale Alba-Bra” and Department of Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Michele and Pietro Ferrero Hospital, Verduno



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