IMAJ | volume 23
Journal 10, October 2021
Cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) is a strong indicator of subsequent motor and developmental impairments in premature infants. There is a paucity of publications on biomarkers of cPVL.
To determine C-reactive protein (CRP) levels during the first week of life of preterm infants who later developed cPVL and to identify the association between CRP levels with perinatal factors.
We retrospectively included infants ≤ 32 weeks gestation and/or birth weights ≤ 1500 grams; 17 with a cranial ultrasound diagnosis of cPVL and 54 with normal ultrasounds. Serum CRP levels were measured during days 1-7 (CRP1–7d
) of life and subdivided into two timing groups: days 1–3 (CRP1–3d
) and days 4-7 (CRP4–7d
The cPVL group had significantly higher mean CRP4–7d
levels compared to controls (12.75 ± 21.2 vs. 2.23 ± 3.1, respectively, P
= 0.03), while CRP1–3d
levels were similar. CRP1–7d
levels were significantly correlated with maximal fraction of inspired oxygen during the first 12 hours of life (FiO2
= 0.51, P
< 0.001]. Additional risk factors were not associated with CRP levels.
Our finding of elevated CRP4-7d
levels and later development of cPVL supports earlier studies on the involvement of inflammation in the pathogenesis of cPVL. Whether CRP could serve as a biomarker of cPVL and its correlation with outcomes, awaits further trials. Furthermore, the correlation between FiO2
-12h and CRP1–7d
levels suggest that hypoxia and/or hyperoxia may serve as a trigger in the activation of inflammation during the first days of life of preterm infants