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Proliferative Retinopathy Is Associated with Impaired Increase in BDNF and RANTES Expression Levels after Preterm Birth.

Journal article
Authors Gunnel Hellgren
Keirnan L Willett
Eva Engström
Poul Thorsen
David M Hougaard
Bo Jacobsson
Ann Hellström
Chatarina Löfqvist
Published in Neonatology
Volume 98
Issue 4
Pages 409-418
ISSN 1661-7819
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Pages 409-418
Language en
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Background: Extremely preterm delivery is, amongst other complications, associated with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Untreated, ROP can progress to visual impairment and blindness due to an overgrowth of new vessels in the retina and vitreous cavity. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify cytokine markers within the first weeks of life that could be used to predict the risk for development of ROP later in life. Methods: Serum levels of 27 different cytokines in infants born at gestational weeks 23-30 were analyzed using a multiplex immunoassay method and compared between infants who did not develop ROP and infants who later developed proliferative ROP. In addition, mRNA levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in retinas from mice exposed to hyperoxia were analyzed using quantitative real-time PCR. Results: At birth, serum levels of IL-5 were higher in infants with no ROP compared to infants with proliferative ROP. 10-14 days after birth, serum levels of BDNF and RANTES were lower in infants who later developed proliferative ROP compared to infants who did not develop ROP. Furthermore, mRNA expression levels of BDNF in retinas from mice exposed to hyperoxia were significantly lower at postnatal day 15 compared to retinas from mice in room air. Conclusions: These results indicate that BDNF and RANTES may be important factors in the selective vulnerability of ROP development in preterm infants.

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