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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 Feb 18. pii: S1744-165X(13)00007-3. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2013.01.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Nutrition, insulin-like growth factor-1 and retinopathy of prematurity.

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  • 1Section of Pediatric Ophthalmology, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, S-416 85 Göteborg, Sweden.


Retinopathy of prematurity is a potentially blinding disease starting with impaired retinal vessel growth in the neonatal period. Weeks to months later, peripheral retinal hypoxia induces pathologic neovascularization that may lead to retinal detachment and blindness. Current treatment strategies target late stage disease and it would be advantageous if retinopathy of prematurity could be prevented. Poor general growth after very preterm birth is a universal problem associated with increased risk of retinopathy. Loss of the maternal-fetal interaction results not only in loss of nutrients but also of other factors provided in utero. The importance of nutrition and factors such as insulin-like growth factor-1 and ω-3 long chain fatty acids for proper retinal vascularization has been defined in animal studies. Increasing evidence of the applicability of these findings to human infants is accumulating. This review focuses on factors essential for neonatal growth and possible strategies to improve growth and prevent retinopathy.

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