W. Allan Walker

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Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common severe neonatal gastrointestinal emergency that predominantly affects premature infants. Its morbidity and mortality is similar to other severe childhood diseases such as meningitis and leukemia, and is becoming increasingly recognized as a major cause of neurodevelopmental delays. The etiology of NEC(More)
The use of probiotics is increasing in popularity for both the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases. While a growing number of well-conducted, prospective, randomized, controlled, clinical trials are emerging and investigations of underlying mechanisms of action are being undertaken, questions remain with respect to the specific immune and(More)
Disturbances of iron homeostasis are associated with altered susceptibility to infectious disease, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. To study this phenomenon, we examined innate immunity to oral Salmonella infection in Hfe knockout (Hfe(-/-)) mice, a model of the human inherited disorder of iron metabolism type I(More)
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a major cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants, occurs after the introduction of oral feedings in conjunction with initial bacterial colonization of the gut and is hypothesized to be due to an immature (inappropriate) enterocyte response to bacterial stimuli. To test this hypothesis, we compared the enterocyte(More)
The neonatal adaptive immune system, relatively naïve to foreign antigens, requires synergy with the innate immune system to protect the intestine. Goblet cells provide mucins, Paneth cells produce antimicrobial peptides, and dendritic cells (DCs) present luminal antigens. Intracellular signaling by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) elicits chemokines and(More)
The normal human microflora is a complex ecosystem that is in part dependent on enteric nutrients for establishing colonization. The gut microbiota are important to the host with regard to metabolic functions and resistance to bacterial infections. At birth, bacterial colonization of a previously germ-free human gut begins. Diet and environmental conditions(More)
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a significant neonatal public health problem that affects low-birth weight infants in neonatal intensive care units throughout the country. As the survival rate of low-birth weight infants continues to increase and as the number of low-birth weight births remains unchanged, we can anticipate that NEC will continue to be a(More)
Epithelial and other cells of the gastrointestinal mucosa rely on both luminal and bloodstream sources for their nutrition. The term functional food is used to describe nutrients that have an effect on physiologic processes that is separate from their established nutritional function, and some of these nutrients are proposed to promote gastrointestinal(More)
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a common pathogen in infantile diarrhea, causing a characteristic histopathologic attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion in the intestinal mucosa. The mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium causes a similar A/E lesion in the murine intestine. Like EPEC, C. rodentium infection results in colonic crypt hyperplasia,(More)
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating neonatal intestinal inflammatory disease, occurring primarily in premature infants, causing significant morbidity and mortality. The pathogenesis of NEC is associated with an excessive inflammatory IL-8 response. In this study, we hypothesized that this excessive inflammatory response is related to an(More)