Noninvasive stool-based detection of infant gastrointestinal development using gene expression profiles from exfoliated epithelial cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have developed a novel molecular methodology that utilizes stool samples containing intact sloughed epithelial cells to quantify intestinal gene expression profiles in the developing human neonate. Since nutrition exerts a major role in regulating neonatal intestinal development and function, our goal was to identify gene sets (combinations) that are differentially regulated in response to infant feeding. For this purpose, fecal mRNA was isolated from exclusively breast-fed (n = 12) and formula-fed (n = 10) infants at 3 mo of age. Linear discriminant analysis was successfully used to identify the single genes and the two- to three-gene combinations that best distinguish the feeding groups. In addition, putative "master" regulatory genes were identified using coefficient of determination analysis. These results support our premise that mRNA isolated from stool has value in terms of characterizing the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the developmentally regulated transcriptional activation/repression of genes known to modulate gastrointestinal function. As larger data sets become available, this methodology can be extended to validation and, ultimately, identification of the main nutritional components that modulate intestinal maturation and function.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol

altmetric score

  • 16.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Chapkin, R. S., Zhao, C., Ivanov, I., Davidson, L. A., Goldsby, J. S., Lupton, J. R., ... Dougherty, E. R.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Chapkin, Robert S||Zhao, Chen||Ivanov, Ivan||Davidson, Laurie A||Goldsby, Jennifer S||Lupton, Joanne R||Mathai, Rose Ann||Monaco, Marcia H||Rai, Deshanie||Russell, W Michael||Donovan, Sharon M||Dougherty, Edward R

publication date

  • May 2010