Title
Delayed growth, motor function and learning in preterm pigs during early postnatal life Delayed growth, motor function and learning in preterm pigs during early postnatal life
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Bethesda, Md ,
Subject
Human medicine
Source (journal)
PHYSIOLOGY
American journal of physiology: regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology. - Bethesda, Md
Volume/pages
310(2016) :6 , p. R481-R492
ISSN
0363-6119
ISI
000372088700003
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Preterm birth interrupts normal fetal growth with consequences for postnatal growth and organ development. In preterm infants, many physiological deficits adapt and disappear with advancing postnatal age, but some may persist into childhood. We hypothesized that preterm birth would induce impaired organ growth and function during the first postnatal week in pigs, while motor abilities and behavioral characteristics would show more persistent developmental delay. Cesarean-delivered preterm (n = 112, 90% gestation) or term (n = 56, 100% gestation) piglets were reared under identical conditions and euthanized for blood and organ collection on postnatal days 0, 5, or 26. Body weight gain remained lower in preterm vs. term pigs up to day 26 (25.5 +/- 1.5 vs. 31.0 +/- 0.5 g .kg(-1).day(-1), P < 0.01) when relative weights were higher for brain and kidneys and reduced for liver and spleen. Neonatal preterm pigs had reduced values for blood pH, PO2, glucose, lactate, hematocrit, and cortisol, but at day 26, most values were normalized, although plasma serotonin and IGF 1 levels remained reduced. Preterm pigs showed delayed neonatal arousal and impaired physical activity, coordination, exploration, and learning, relative to term pigs (all P < 0.05). Supplementation of parenteral nutrition during the first 5 days with an enteral milk diet did not affect later outcomes. In preterm pigs, many physiological characteristics of immaturity disappeared by 4 wk, while some neurodevelopmental deficits remained. The preterm pig is a relevant animal model to study early dietary and pharmacological interventions that support postnatal maturation and neurodevelopment in preterm infants.
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