Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. The cause is unclear and, despite significant research, little progress has been made in developing treatments. Based on findings that infants with NEC lack Paneth cells in the small intestine, Zhang et al. developed a new mouse model to test the role of this cell type in the disease. They show that selective ablation of Paneth cells followed by infection with Klebsiella pneumoniae causes intestinal pathology that resembles that of human NEC. Advantages of this model over existing models of NEC include its simplicity and the fact that it can be applied in mice at a developmental stage that is relevant to human NEC. This work furthers knowledge regarding NEC pathology and provides a new model for testing potential treatments. Page 522
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