Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in infants <32 weeks gestational age: Correlation with antenatal factors and postnatal outcomes

Rakesh Rao, Charles B. Mashburn, Jingnan Mao, Nitin Wadhwa, George M. Smith, Nirmala S. Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Neurotrophins (NTs) play important roles in brain growth and development. Cord blood (CB) brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentrations increase with gestational age but data regarding postnatal changes are limited. We measured BDNF concentrations after birth in 33 preterm infants <32-wk gestation. Serum was collected at birth (CB), at day 2, between day 6 and 10 (D6), at day 30 (D30), and at day 60 (D60). BDNF concentrations fell on D2 (p = 0.03), recovered by D6 (p = 0.10), and continued to rise thereafter at D30 (p = 0.06) and D60 (p = 0.01) compared with CB. CB BDNF concentrations positively correlated with duration of rupture of membranes (r = 0.43, p = 0.04). Antenatal steroids (ANS, p = 0.02), postnatal steroids (PNS, p = 0.04), and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP, p = 0.02) were identified as significant factors in multivariate analyses. The median (25-75th interquartile range) CB BDNF concentrations were higher in infants who received a complete course ANS compared with those who received a partial course [1461 (553-2064) versus 281 (171-536) pg/mL, p = 0.04]. BDNF concentrations negatively correlated with the use of PNS at D30 (r = -0.53, p = 0.002) and at D60 (r = -0.55, p = 0.009). PNS use was associated with reduced concentrations of BDNF at D30 [733 (101-1983) versus 2224 (1677- 4400) pg/mL, p = 0.004] and at D60 [1149 (288 -2270) versus 2560 (1337-5166) pg/mL, p = 0.01]. BDNF concentrations on D60 in infants who developed ROP (n = 16) were lower than those who did not develop ROP (n = 7) [1417 (553-2540) versus 3593 (2620 -7433) pg/mL, respectively, p = 0.005]. Our data suggests that BDNF concentrations rise beyond the first week of age. BDNF concentrations correlate with factors that influence neurodevelopment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-552
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


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