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Biol Neonate. 1999 Nov;76(5):266-73.

Vascular endothelial growth factor in pulmonary lavage fluid from premature infants: effects of age and postnatal dexamethasone.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Strong Children's Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Corticosteroids are used to ameliorate bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). They also affect normal development, including the expression of growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Deep pulmonary lavage specimens were collected on days 1, 3, 7 and 28 of life in 40 infants of <34 weeks of gestation at birth during a randomized controlled trial of two doses of dexamethasone (DEX) at 12 and 24 h of age for BPD prophylaxis. VEGF was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The 18 DEX and 21 control subjects had similar gestations, birth weights and oxygen requirements at study entry. Lavage VEGF tripled between day 1 and 3 in both groups. The day 7 levels were higher in DEX subjects than in controls. DEX and control values were similar on day 28. Higher lavage VEGF levels on days 1 and 3 were also correlated with lower gestational age at birth. Lavage VEGF levels were not associated with the development of BPD. We speculate that these DEX- and age-associated changes in VEGF may affect pulmonary angiogenesis.

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