Background and Purpose: Although the spectrum of perinatal white matter injury (WMI) in preterm infants is shifting from cystic encephalomalacia to milder forms of WMI, the factors that contribute to this changing spectrum are unclear. We hypothesized that the variability in WMI quantified by immunohistochemical markers of inflammation could be correlated with the severity of impaired blood oxygen, glucose and lactate. Methods: We employed a preterm fetal sheep model of in utero moderate hypoxemia and global severe but not complete cerebral ischemia that reproduces the spectrum of human WMI. Since there is small but measurable residual brain blood flow during occlusion, we sought to determine if the metabolic state of the residual arterial blood was associated with severity of WMI. Near the conclusion of hypoxia-ischemia, we recorded cephalic arterial blood pressure, blood oxygen, glucose and lactate levels. To define the spectrum of WMI, an ordinal WMI rating scale was compared against an unbiased quantitative image analysis protocol that provided continuous histo-pathological outcome measures for astrogliosis and microgliosis derived from the entire white matter. Results: A spectrum of WMI was observed that ranged from diffuse non-necrotic lesions to more severe injury that comprised discrete foci of microscopic or macroscopic necrosis. Residual arterial pressure, oxygen content and blood glucose displayed a significant inverse association with WMI and lactate concentrations were directly related. Elevated glucose levels were the most significantly associated with less severe WMI. Conclusions: Our results suggest that under conditions of hypoxemia and severe cephalic hypotension, WMI severity measured using unbiased immunohistochemical measurements correlated with several physiologic parameters, including glucose, which may be a useful marker of fetal response to hypoxia or provide protection against energy failure and more severe WMI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)