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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004 Dec;63(12):1297-309.

The pattern of cerebral injury in a primate model of preterm birth and neonatal intensive care.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Survivors of very premature birth face an increased risk of adverse motor, cognitive, and behavior sequelae. In order to understand the pathogenesis of these adverse outcomes, an animal model of premature birth and neonatal care in a species with a close similarity to the human infant is sought. In this histological and immunohistochemical study we have defined the pattern of cerebral injury in a premature baboon model undergoing similar neonatal intensive care to that of the human premature infant. Sixteen baboons were delivered at 125 days gestation (dg; term approximately184 dg) with 14 days neonatal intensive care and were compared with gestational control brains at 125, 140, and 160 dg. The premature baboons undergoing neonatal intensive care sustained a spectrum of neuropathologies including white matter injury, hemorrhage, and ventriculomegaly, which resemble lesions frequently observed in the human premature infant. These data suggest that the premature baboon is a model with similarities in maturation and pattern of cerebral injury to the human infant that may provide useful insights of relevance to the human preterm infant.

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