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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 140

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: A promising biomarker for predicting prematurity-related complications

1 Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center; Department of Pediatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
2 Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Nasibeh School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

Date of Submission15-Sep-2018
Date of Acceptance09-Apr-2019
Date of Web Publication12-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Amir Emami Zeydi
Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Nasibeh School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_421_18

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How to cite this article:
Ramezani M, Zeydi AE. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: A promising biomarker for predicting prematurity-related complications. Int J Prev Med 2019;10:140

How to cite this URL:
Ramezani M, Zeydi AE. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: A promising biomarker for predicting prematurity-related complications. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 24];10:140. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2019/10/1/140/264173


Premature birth is associated with a higher risk for developing complications in various organs, which consequently can increase the risk of morbidity and mortality of these infants. Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and disorders of the developing nervous system are among the most significant prematurity-related complications. Using predictors to recognize premature infants with a high risk of developing these complications and managing them with proper prophylactic interventions will significantly reduce the associated morbidity, mortality, and costs.[1],[2]

Recently, some attention has focused on the association between the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level, which is a protein from the growth factors family and prematurity-related complication. BDNF plays significant roles in the prenatal and postnatal brain growth and development.[3],[4] Blood BDNF level can reflect structural maturity of the nervous system among premature infants. BDNF has been demonstrated to decrease tissue loss in the brain when administered after hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in neonatal rats.[4],[5] In addition, the BDNF presence in the retina and its roles in angiogenesis demonstrate its probable roles in ROP.[1],[3] A study showed premature infants who suffered from ROP had significantly lower BDNF levels compared with other premature infants.[1] Another study reported the association of BDNF gene variants with severe ROP.[3] Additionally, it has been revealed an association between BDNF level and the occurrence of IVH among premature infants. The cord blood level of BDNF among infants with IVH was significantly lower than healthy infants.[5]

According to the current literature, it seems that lower serum BDNF levels can be considered as a potential etiologic factor for the occurrence of prematurity-related complications, which appear to warrant further investigations to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. In addition, further long-term studies are required to assess the potential role of blood BDNF levels, as a biomarker for predicting prematurity-related complications. Additionally, future studies are needed to evaluate whether an increase in local or systemic BDNF production by the use of co-factors such as vitamin B12 or dexamethasone can influence developing prematurity-related complications or not. Furthermore, considering the role of maternal lifestyle characteristics on BDNF levels in neonates,[6] this issue should also be investigated in more detail in premature neonate and its potential role in the occurrence of prematurity-related complications.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Rao R, Mashburn CB, Mao J, Wadhwa N, Smith GM, Desai NS. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in infants<32 weeks gestational age: Correlation with antenatal factors and postnatal outcomes. Pediatr Res 2009;65:548-52.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ahn SY, Chang YS, Sung DK, Sung SI, Ahn JY, Park WS. Pivotal role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor secreted by mesenchymal stem cells in severe intraventricular hemorrhage in Newborn rats. Cell Transplant 2017;26:45-156.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hartnett ME, Morrison MA, Smith S, Yanovitch TL, Young TL, Colaizy T, et al. Genetic variants associated with severe retinopathy of prematurity in extremely low birth weight infants. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55:6194-203.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kim H, Li Q, Hempstead BL, Madri JA. Paracrine and autocrine functions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor (NGF) in brain-derived endothelial cells. J BiolChem 2004;279:33538-46.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chouthai NS, Sampers J, Desai N, Smith GM. Changes in neurotrophin levels in umbilical cord blood from infants with different gestational ages and clinical conditions. Pediatr Res 2003;53:965-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Ghassabian A, Sundaram R, Chahal N, McLain AC, Bell E, Lawrence DA, Yeung EH. Determinants of neonatal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and association with child development. Dev Psychopathol 2017;29:1499-511.  Back to cited text no. 6


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