Project Details

E.W. "Al" Thrasher

Status: Funded - Closed

Enteric infections, enteropathy and malnutrition

Theresa Ochoa, M.D.


BACKGROUND: Repeated enteric infections are common among children living in resources-limited settings and may be one of the causes of environmental enteropathy, a small intestine disorder associated with chronic malnutrition (stunting)

GAP: The nature of the interaction between enteric pathogens, intestinal mucosa functions and nutritional status is poorly understood. This study aims at investigating the mechanism linking enteric infections and enteropathy to stunting with a specific focus on the role of immune activation in the physiopathology of malnutrition

1. Enteric infections are associated with intestinal damage and systemic immune activation
2. Systemic immune activation is associated with reduced linear growth and chronic malnutrition among young children
3. Alterations of the gut flora are associated with malnutrition and immune activation

METHODS: We will enroll 100 Peruvian children aged 6-12 months and follow them for 6 months, with monthly growth assessment. Every child will be home-visited 2 times a week for active surveillance of enteric infections. Blood and urine markers of intestinal dysfunction and systemic inflammation will be collected at the beginning and end of follow-up. Stool samples will be collected every 2 weeks and at each diarrheic episode for microbiology studies and evaluation of fecal markers of enteropathy.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT:  A more thorough understanding of malnutrition physiopathology would help designing targeted strategies to 1) prevent exposure to potentially avoidable risk factors 2) modulate the host response to initial triggering events 3) help restoring normal physiology in already malnourished children.

Infectious Disease, Malnutrition, Mechanistic, Human

Supervising Institution:
UT Health Science Center Houston

Project Location:
United States, Peru

Award Amount: