University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers now report discovery of a strong predictive biomarker for BPD, and they show a role for the biomarker in the pathogenesis of this neonatal lung disease. These results open the path to possible future therapies to prevent or lessen BPD, which is marked by inflammation and impaired lung development.
This biomarker could also help neonatologists plan optimal management and risk stratification of their tiny patients, and it could guide targeted enrollment of high-risk infants into randomized trials of potentially novel treatment strategies.
UAB - Work - Journal - JCI - Insight
The UAB work, published in the journal JCI Insight, is an example of "bedside to bench" research. It began with prospective studies of extremely premature infants to identify potential biomarkers, and then proceeded to lab experiments using animal models and cells grown in culture to learn how the biomarker functions in disease progression.
The study was led by Charitharth Vivek Lal, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Pediatrics Division of Neonatology, and it builds upon Lal's 2016 report that early microbial imbalance in the airways of extremely premature infants is predictive for development of BPD.
Biomarker - JCI - Insight - Study
The biomarker in the JCI Insight study is microRNA 876-3p.
The hunt for the biomarker began with a prospective cohort study at the UAB Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, looking at exosomes obtained from tracheal aspirates of infants with severe BPD, compared with full-term controls. Exosomes are small, membrane-bound blebs or vesicles that are actively secreted by a variety of cells. They are known to contain microRNAs and proteins, and the exosomes act in cell-to-cell signaling. MicroRNAs can regulate gene expression in cells.
Lal - Colleagues - Airway - Cells - Infants
Lal and colleagues found that airway cells in infants with severe BPD had greater numbers of exosomes, but those exosomes were smaller sized. They also experimentally found that high oxygen exposure for newborn mice or human bronchial epithelial cells grown...
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