Postnatal outcomes in term and preterm lambs following fetal growth restriction.

Abstract:

:1. Epidemiological evidence indicates that low birthweight increases the risk of a number of adult-onset diseases. It is now apparent that many babies with a low birthweight may have been subjected to a combination of reduced growth rates in utero as well as preterm birth. However, the long-term effects of preterm birth following intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) are unknown. Thus, our objectives were: (i) to identify prenatal factors associated with preterm birth in IUGR fetuses; and (ii) to characterize postnatal effects of preterm birth following IUGR. 2. We studied pregnant sheep and their offspring, in which fetal growth was restricted by umbilico-placental embolization during late gestation. Some of these animals were born at term (146 +/- 1 days) and some were born prematurely (139 +/- 1 days). In both groups, we have conducted longitudinal studies of postnatal respiratory function, cardiovascular function and learning ability up to 6-8 weeks of age. 3. Before birth, IUGR fetuses born prematurely (P-IUGR) were more hypoxaemic and acidaemic and had higher haemoglobin concentrations than both control fetuses and IUGR fetuses born at term (T-IUGR). In P-IUGR fetuses, plasma cortisol concentrations increased earlier than in the two other groups. The P-IUGR lambs had lower birthweights than T-IUGR lambs and both groups of IUGR lambs remained lighter than controls for 8 weeks. 4. After birth, P-IUGR lambs were hypoxaemic compared with T-IUGR and control lambs. Pulmonary diffusing capacity (adjusted for lung volume) was significantly lower in both groups of IUGR lambs than in controls, with P-IUGR lambs having lower values than T-IUGR lambs. Lung compliance (adjusted for lung volume), was not different between P-IUGR and control lambs, but values were higher in T-IUGR lambs than in control and P-IUGR lambs. Chest wall compliance (adjusted for lung volume) was higher in both groups of IUGR lambs than in controls. 5. During the 8 week postnatal study period, both groups of IUGR lambs had lower mean arterial pressures than control lambs; this relative hypotension was greatest in P-IUGR lambs. 6. In tests of learning ability, P-IUGR lambs took longer to complete a simple maze task at all ages and, in the second postnatal week, made a greater number of errors compared with controls. In an obstacle course, P-IUGR lambs recorded longer trial durations; they also made more errors than control lambs. 7. We conclude that preterm birth in the presence of late- gestational placental insufficiency and IUGR can result in specific effects on respiratory and cardiovascular development after birth, in addition to the effects of IUGR alone.

authors

Cock ML,Camm EJ,Louey S,Joyce BJ,Harding R

doi

10.1046/j.1440-1681.2001.03552.x

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2001-11-01 00:00:00

pages

931-7

issue

11

eissn

0305-1870

issn

1440-1681

pii

3552

journal_volume

28

pub_type

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