Seth Morrison, MD is a Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition clinical fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and North Carolina Children’s Hospital. He is completing Master of Public Health coursework at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is interested in enteropathies (small bowel pathologies) that contribute to the global burden of chronic childhood undernutrition. During his 3-year fellowship, he has been mentored by Dr. Sylvia Becker-Dreps in collaboration with the UNC Program in Nicaragua.
Abstract: Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is a small bowel disease prevalent in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) with high environmental enteropathogen exposures. Histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) are determined by the FUT2 (secretor) and FUT3 (Lewis) fucosylation enzyme genes. HBGAs are expressed on epithelial cells and are known to modulate the risk of certain diarrheagenic enteropathogens. It is unclear whether the HBGAs of children, their mothers, or both can also predispose to chronic malnutrition or EED in children. This study sought to identify whether HBGA status confers risk for EED and linear growth faltering in a Nicaraguan birth cohort.