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Nutrition, insulin-like growth factor-1 and retinopathy of prematurity

Journal article
Authors Anna-Lena Hård
L. E. Smith
Ann Hellström
Published in Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 136-142
ISSN 1744-165X
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 136-142
Language en
Keywords IGF-1, Nutrition, Omega-3, Retinopathy of prematurity, birth-weight infants, oxygen-induced retinopathy, longitudinal postnatal, weight, polyunsaturated fatty-acids, screening algorithm winrop, preterm, infants, igf-i, human-milk, proliferative retinopathy, parenteral-nutrition
Subject categories Ophthalmology, Pediatrics


Retinopathy of prematurity is a potentially blinding disease starting with impaired retinal vessel growth in the neonatal period. Weeks to months later, peripheral retinal hypoxia induces pathologic neovascularization that may lead to retinal detachment and blindness. Current treatment strategies target late stage disease and it would be advantageous if retinopathy of prematurity could be prevented. Poor general growth after very preterm birth is a universal problem associated with increased risk of retinopathy. Loss of the maternal-fetal interaction results not only in loss of nutrients but also of other factors provided in utero. The importance of nutrition and factors such as insulin-like growth factor-1 and omega-3 long chain fatty acids for proper retinal vascularization has been defined in animal studies. Increasing evidence of the applicability of these findings to human infants is accumulating. This review focuses on factors essential for neonatal growth and possible strategies to improve growth and prevent retinopathy.

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