RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 in tracheal aspirate fluid of preterm neonates at birth may be predictive of bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease.

Pediatrics 2009 June
OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptors are involved in the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Neonates with a birth weight of < or =1500 g and/or < or =30 weeks' gestation, with respiratory failure, requiring O(2) and mechanical ventilation within 24 hours, were eligible. Tracheal aspirate fluid samples were collected from 65 neonates before surfactant and/or assisted mechanical ventilation (baseline), at 3 and 7 days after birth, and weekly thereafter until extubation. Samples were analyzed for total vascular endothelial growth factor, soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 and 2 levels and compared in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease (n = 31) versus those with no bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease (n = 34).

RESULTS: Mean gestational age and birth weight were lower in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease. At baseline, vascular endothelial growth factor levels in the tracheal aspirate fluid were significantly lower, whereas soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 levels were higher in the bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease infants compared with infants with no bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease. Vascular endothelial growth factor levels progressively increased from baseline to 4 weeks in all of the infants developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease. Conversely, soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 declined in both groups from baseline to 5 weeks of age. Similarly, soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 declined from baseline to 5 weeks in the control infants, but there were significant increases at 3 and 4 weeks in infants developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease.

CONCLUSIONS: We speculate that low vascular endothelial growth factor levels in tracheal aspirate fluid, concurrent with elevated soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 levels on the first day of life, are biological markers for the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia/chronic lung disease in very low birth weight infants requiring O(2) and assisted mechanical ventilation.

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