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Postnatal head growth deficit among premature infants parallels retinopathy of prematurity and insulin-like growth factor-1 deficit

Journal article
Authors Chatarina Löfqvist
Eva Engström
Jon Sigurdsson
Anna-Lena Hård
Aimon Niklasson
Uwe Ewald
Gerd Holmström
L. E. Smith
Ann Hellström
Published in Pediatrics
Volume 117
Issue 6
Pages 1930-8
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 1930-8
Language en
Links file:///U:/EndNoteRefs/PDF_arkiv/Pe...
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: We hypothesized that in premature infants, retinal vascular growth retardation between birth and postmenstrual age of approximately 30 to 32 weeks that initiates retinopathy of prematurity is paralleled by brain growth retardation. METHODS: In a prospective longitudinal study, we measured postnatal head growth, retinopathy of prematurity stage, protein and energy intake, severity of illness and serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels in 58 preterm infants (mean gestational age at birth: 27.6 weeks) from birth until postmenstrual age of approximately 40 weeks. RESULTS: Premature infant head growth decelerates dramatically after birth until postmenstrual age of approximately 30 weeks. Head growth retardation coincides with retinal vascular growth suppression. Accelerated growth follows between post menstrual ages of approximately 30 to 32 weeks and approximately 40 weeks. The degree of head growth retardation up to postmenstrual age of 31 weeks corresponds to the degree of retinopathy of prematurity and to the degree of suppression of serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-1. At postmenstrual age of 31 weeks, if a child's head circumference SD is below -2.5, then the probability of also developing at least stage 3 retinopathy of prematurity increases fivefold compared with head circumference above -2.5 SD (32% vs 6%) suggesting parallel processes in brain and retina. Serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels correlate positively with head circumference SD score and with the degree of retinopathy of prematurity. CONCLUSIONS: The correlation between head and retinal growth is consistent with insulin growth factor-1 being one of the postnatal growth factors involved in this multifactorial process and also suggests that factors that contribute to retinopathy of prematurity during this critical period may also affect neurological dysfunction. Additional studies are required to establish this connection.

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