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Arch Pediatr. 2011 Jul;18 Suppl 2:S79-85. doi: 10.1016/S0929-693X(11)71095-8.

[Epidemiology and pathophysiology of retinopathy of prematurity].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de Réanimation Pédiatrique et Néonatale, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, 149 rue de Sèvres 75015 Paris, France.


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a major cause of visual impairment in premature infants. It is characterized by an arrest in normal retinal vascular development associated with microvascular degeneration, followed by an abnormal hypoxiainduced neovascularization. Recent studies point out that ROP is a multifactorial disease, implicating both oxygen-dependent and oxygen-independent mechanisms. Oxygen-dependent factors leading to microvascular degeneration include generation of reactive oxygen species and suppression of specific oxygen-regulated vascular survival factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin. The other major mechanism for the initial capillary loss is oxygen-independent and implicates a deficit in growth factor IGF-1/IGFBP3. The proliferative, second phase of ROP is triggered by increases in vascular growth factors concentrations, in an attempt to compensate for the hypoxic retina. Novel signaling pathways for vascular repair, implicating both metabolite signaling and inflammatory lipids signaling, represent new therapeutic avenues for ROP.

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