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Early Hum Dev. 2013 Oct;89 Suppl 3:S3-5. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia: the earliest and perhaps the longest lasting obstructive lung disease in humans.

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  • 1Women's and Children's Health Department, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Abstract

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is one of the most important sequelae of premature birth and the most common form of chronic lung disease of infancy. From a clinical standpoint BPD subjects are characterized by recurrent respiratory symptoms, which are very frequent during the first years of life and, although becoming less severe as children grow up, they remain more common than in term-born controls throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. From a functional point of view BPD subjects show a significant airflow limitation that persists during adolescence and adulthood and they may experience an earlier and steeper decline in lung function during adulthood. Interestingly, patients born prematurely but not developing BPD usually fare better, but they too have airflow limitations during childhood and later on, suggesting that also prematurity per se has life-long detrimental effects on pulmonary function. For the time being, little is known about the presence and nature of pathological mechanisms underlying the clinical and functional picture presented by BPD survivors. Nonetheless, recent data suggest the presence of persistent neutrophilic airway inflammation and oxidative stress and it has been suggested that BPD may be sustained in the long term by inflammatory pathogenic mechanisms similar to those underlying COPD. This hypothesis is intriguing but more pathological data are needed. A better understanding of these pathogenetic mechanisms, in fact, may be able to orient the development of novel targeted therapies or prevention strategies to improve the overall respiratory health of BPD patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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