Intrauterine growth restriction and the innate immune system in preterm infants of ≤32 weeks gestation

Birte Tröger, Thilo Müller, Kirstin Faust, Meike Bendiks, Michael K. Bohlmann, Susanne Thonnissen, Egbert Herting, Wolfgang Göpel, Christoph Härtel

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a well-known cause of adverse neonatal outcomes. As it may have an impact on innate immune responses, we aimed to investigate several parameters of the innate immune response in preterm infants of ≤32 weeks gestation who were small for gestational age (SGA). Methods: We compared clinical data of SGA (n = 20) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA; n = 124) newborns with a gestational age of ≤32 weeks. We investigated full blood counts at birth and on days 3 and 7 of life and cytokine immune responses in a human whole cord blood assay. Results: SGA preterm infants had a higher risk of the combined outcome mortality or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Numbers of white blood cells and neutrophils were diminished in SGA infants at birth and on day 3. At birth, platelet counts were also diminished while the number of nucleated red blood cells tended to be elevated in SGA infants. After stimulation of whole blood cell cultures with lipopolysaccharides, the concentrations of interleukin-6 and interleukin-10 were significantly lower in SGA preterm infants compared to AGA infants. Conclusions: SGA infants differ remarkably from AGA infants in full blood counts and in their ability to mount an immune response. Whether the quantitative deficiency in innate immunity plays a role for adverse outcomes needs to be investigated in larger future trials.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrauterine growth restriction and the innate immune system in preterm infants of ≤32 weeks gestation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this