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Biol Neonate. 2002 Jan;81(1):16-22.

Basement membrane biomarkers in very low birth weight premature infants. Association with length of NICU stay and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

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Department of Pediatrics, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, N.Y., USA.


Basement membranes, critical for vital organs like the lungs, consist of two interwoven homopolymers, one assembled by type IV collagens and one by laminins. We hypothesized their serum antigens C-IV and P1, respectively, to be global measures for the maturity of these organs. In 39 very low birth weight premature neonates (means: gestational age, 25.8 weeks; birth weight, 779 g) requiring intensive care, we analyzed these biomarkers during the first two months post partum. Median C-IV and P1 exceeded adult levels by one order of magnitude. The individuals with the lowest first week C-IV values (mean: 667 ng/ml) required significantly longer neonatal intensive care unit stays than those with the highest values (mean: 2,467 ng/ml), on average 109 vs. 80 days (p = 0.008) irrespective of gestational age. Patients diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) at 36 weeks postconceptional age, already in their first week of life displayed C-IV levels lower than in controls, suggesting a defect in pulmonary basement membrane remodeling. This is the first identification by a matrix biomarker of a BPD-antecedent state.

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