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Increased postnatal concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with reduced IGF-I levels and retinopathy of prematurity

Journal article
Authors Gunnel Hellgren
Chatarina Löfqvist
I. Hansen-Pupp
M. Gram
L. E. Smith
D. Ley
Ann Hellström
Published in Growth Hormone & Igf Research
Volume 39
Pages 19-24
ISSN 1096-6374
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Pages 19-24
Language en
Keywords Retinopathy of prematurity, IGF-I, Pro-inflammatory cytokines, growth-factor-i, necrosis-factor-alpha, birth-weight infants, risk-factors, angiogenesis, infection, pathogenesis, hormone, fungal, sepsis, Cell Biology, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Objective: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a multifactorial disease linked to low insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I levels and perhaps to postnatal inflammation. Here, we investigated the longitudinal postnatal serum concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in relation to IGF-I levels and ROP. Design: The study cohort included 52 infants born before 31 gestational weeks. The infants were screened for ROP and classified as non-ROP (n = 33), non-proliferative ROP (stages 1 and 2; n = 10), or proliferative ROP (stage 3, all treated for ROP; n = 9). Blood samples were collected at birth, 24 h after birth, and then weekly until at least 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) (i.e., up to 13 weeks after birth). Circulating levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha were evaluated in relation to circulating IGF-I levels and ROP. Results: IL-6 levels negatively correlated with IGF-I levels between 5 and 8 weeks after birth, (p < 0.01 to p < 0.05). At birth, the IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels were similar independent of later ROP. Twenty-four hours after birth, both IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels had increased in infants later treated for ROP (p < 0.05). Postnatal, infants treated for ROP had higher IL-6 levels than infants without ROP. Conclusions: The pro-inflammatory response is associated with low IGF-I levels and the development of ROP.

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