The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of dietary nucleotide supplementation in preterm infants during the first month of life on the intestinal permeability to lactulose, mannitol and to beta-lactoglobulin and on the development of circulating antibodies to beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-casein. Twenty-seven preterm infants were enrolled in the study; 11 of them were fed a standard low-birth weight milk formula and 16 infants were fed the same formula supplemented with nucleotides at similar levels to those found in human milk. Blood and urine samples were obtained at 1, 7 and 30 days of age. Serum beta-lactoglobulin, serum IgG antibody to alpha-casein and serum IgG antibody to beta-lactoglobulin were measured by ELISA. The lactulose/mannitol urinary excretion rate was measured by gas liquid chromatography. Neither the intestinal permeability to saccharides nor the intestinal absorption of beta-lactoglobulin were affected by the nucleotide supplementation. However, serum concentrations of IgG antibody to beta-lactoglobulin were higher in preterm neonates fed the supplemented formula than in those fed the standard formula. According to these results, dietary nucleotides might influence the maturation of the humoral immune response in preterm newborn infants.