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Pediatr Res. 2006 Mar;59(3):478-83.

Population cohort associating chorioamnionitis, cord inflammatory cytokines and neurologic outcome in very preterm, extremely low birth weight infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Oulu, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland.


Intrauterine inflammation may relate to neurologic disability among preterm children. We investigated the relationship between chorioamnionitis, cord serum cytokines, and neurologic outcome. Sixty-one consecutively born very preterm extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants were prospectively enrolled. Histologic inflammation in placenta and umbilical cord and vascular pathology were evaluated. Cord sera were analyzed for five proinflammatory cytokines. Serial brain ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging were performed for evaluation of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH grade I-III) and white matter damage (WMD: cystic periventricular leukomalacia or IVH grade IV). Neurologic and neurocognitive outcomes were assessed at the corrected age of 2 y. The incidences of HCA, WMD, and abnormal neurologic outcome were 48%, 13% and 19%, respectively. HCA or high IL-6 in cord serum predicted spontaneous preterm labor with high accuracy. HCA increased the risk of IVH grade II-III. In HCA, without either clinical chorioamnionitis or histologic placental perfusion defect, the children had a low risk of WMD (0%) and a low risk of abnormal neurologic outcome (6%). In HCA, the concentration of IL-6 in cord serum was lower in children with abnormal neurologic outcome than in children with normal neurologic outcome. In HCA and placental perfusion defect (compound defect) the risk of abnormal neurologic outcome was high. Compound placental defect and WMD additively predicted abnormal neurologic outcome. We propose that HCA together with other insults (placental perfusion defect or maternal systemic infection) increases the risk of poor neurologic outcome in very preterm ELBW infants.

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