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Background: Undeveloped gut microbiota and increased enterohepatic circulation in neonates contribute to increased serum bilirubin levels in the first days after birth.
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the impact of probiotic supplementation combined with phototherapy on gut microbiota in neonates with hyperbilirubinemia.
Methods: A total of 44 full-term neonates with hyperbilirubinemia were enrolled and randomly divided into a blue phototherapy (BLP) group (n = 21) and a probiotic combined with phototherapy (PCP) group (n = 23). The probiotics included Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Enterococcus faecalis. The treatment outcomes were compared between the two groups. Fecal samples were collected before and 72 h after the treatment. 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing was used to analyze the altered gut microbiota.
Results: Seventy-two hours after treatment, the PCP group had significantly lower serum total bilirubin levels and shorter hospital stays than those in the BLP group (p < 0.05). Compared with that in the BLP group, the PCP group had a significantly higher abundance of Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, and Veillonella in the gut 72 h after treatment (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Probiotic supplementation combined with phototherapy is superior to phototherapy alone in treating neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, which may be correlated with improved gut microbiota by probiotics.