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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 Dec;281(6):L1386-91.

Oxidative stress in lavage fluid of preterm infants at risk of chronic lung disease.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT12 6BJ, United Kingdom.


There is evidence that oxidative stress plays a role in the development of chronic lung disease (CLD), with immature lungs being particularly sensitive to the injurious effect of oxygen and mechanical ventilation. We analyzed total ascorbate, urate, and protein carbonyls in 102 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples from 38 babies (33 preterm, 24-36 wk gestation; 5 term, 37-39 wk gestation). Preterm babies had significantly decreasing concentrations of ascorbate, urate, and protein carbonyls during the first 9 days of life (days 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9, Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA: P = 0.016, P < 0.0001, and P = 0.010, respectively). Preterm babies had significantly higher protein carbonyl concentrations at days 1-3 and 4-6 (P = 0.005 and P = 0.044) compared with term babies. Very preterm babies (24-28 wk gestation) had increased concentrations of protein carbonyls at days 4-6 (P = 0.056) and significantly decreased ascorbate concentrations at days 4-6 (P = 0.004) compared with preterm babies (29-36 wk gestation). Urate concentrations were significantly elevated at days 1-3 (P = 0.023) in preterm babies who subsequently developed CLD. This study has shown the presence of oxidative stress in the lungs of preterm babies during ventilation, especially in those who subsequently developed CLD.

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