Thursday, January 8, 2009

Neurotrophic factor expression in newborns with myelomeningocele: preliminary data.

Chiaretti A, Ausili E, Di Rocco C, Antonelli A, Tabacco F, Focarelli B, Rendeli C. Neurotrophic factor expression in newborns with myelomeningocele: preliminary data. European Journal of Pediatric Neurololgy. 2008 Mar;12(2):113-8.

BACKGROUND: Neurotrophic factors play a crucial role in the stimulation of sprouting, synaptic plasticity and reorganization after spinal cord damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of some neurotrophic factors [brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and nerve growth factor (NGF)] in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of newborns with myelomeningocele (MMC) and to determine their correlations with this malformation.

METHODS: To measure the expression of BDNF, GDNF, and NGF, we collected CSF samples of six newborns during the neurosurgical operation to correct the open MMC and of 10 matched controls. Endogenous neurotrophic factor levels were quantified using a two-site immuno-enzymatic assay. The statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney two-tailed two-sample test.

FINDINGS: In the CSF of patients analysis of neurotrophic factor expression showed a significant increase of BDNF, GDNF, and NGF compared to the mean level of the control group (445.8+/-82.3, 86.5+/-2.6, and 59.9+/-6.2 pg/mL, respectively, respect to 10.2+/-5.9, 19.9+/-11.3, and 15.3+/-2.6 pg/mL) (p<0.001).

INTERPRETATION: Our study shows an over-expression of neurotrophic factors in the CSF of newborns with MMC. This neurotrophin up-regulation may stimulate axonal sprouting and synaptic reorganization of the damaged neural cells at the site of spinal cord lesion. The neurotrophic factor up-regulation may represent a particularly important biochemical markers of spinal cord damage and might be associated with the severity of spine injury in MMC patients.

PMID: 17881265

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