Inflammation in utero exacerbates ventilation-induced brain injury in preterm lambs

Graeme Polglase, Ilias Nitsos, Ana Baburamani, Kelly Crossley, Melanie Slater, Andrew Gill, Beth Allison, Timothy Moss, Jane Pillow, Stuart Hooper, Martin Kluckow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebral blood flow disturbance is a major contributor to brain injury in the preterm infant. The initiation of ventilation may be a critical time for cerebral hemodynamic disturbance leading to brain injury in preterm infants, particularly if they are exposed to inflammation in utero. We aimed to determine whether exposure to inflammation in utero alters cardiopulmonary hemodynamics, resulting in cerebral hemodynamic disturbance and related brain injury during the initiation of ventilation. Furthermore, we aimed to determine whether inflammation in utero alters the cerebral hemodynamic response to challenge induced by high mean airway pressures. Pregnant ewes received intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or saline either 2 or 4-days before preterm delivery (at 128 +/- 1 days of gestation). Lambs were surgically instrumented for assessment of pulmonary and cerebral hemodynamics before delivery and positive pressure ventilation. After 30 min, lambs were challenged hemodynamically by incrementing and decrementing positive end-expiratory pressure. Blood gases, arterial pressures, and blood flows were recorded. The brain was collected for biochemical and histological assessment of inflammation, brain damage, vascular extravasation, hemorrhage, and oxidative injury. Carotid arterial pressure was higher and carotid blood flow was more variable in 2-day LPS lambs than in controls during the initial 15 min of ventilation. All lambs responded similarly to the hemodynamic challenge. Both 2- and 4-day LPS lambs had increased brain interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8 mRNA expression; increased number of inflammatory cells in the white matter; increased incidence and severity of brain damage; and vascular extravasation relative to controls. Microvascular hemorrhage was increased in 2-day LPS lambs compared with controls. Cerebral oxidative injury was not different between groups. Antenatal inflammation causes adverse cerebral hemodynamics and increases the incidence and severity of brain injury in ventilated preterm lambs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481 - 489
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this