Association of Retinopathy of Prematurity With Low Levels of Arachidonic Acid: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial


Löfqvist CA, Najm S, Hellgren G, Engström E, Sävman K, Nilsson AK, Andersson MX, Hård A-L, Smith LEH, Hellström A. Association of Retinopathy of Prematurity With Low Levels of Arachidonic Acid: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol 2018;136(3):271-277.

Date Published:

2018 Mar 01


Importance: Mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy fed matched diets except for ω-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) vs ω-6 LC-PUFAs demonstrate relative antiangiogenic and neuroprotective associations of ω-3 LC-PUFAs. However, supplementing preterm infants with LC-PUFAs has been inconsistent in reducing major preterm morbidities. However, few studies measured serum lipid levels after supplementation. Objective: To examine the associated risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) from the levels of circulating ω-3 and ω-6 LC-PUFAs. Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal clinical study was a further analysis of serum lipid levels from a randomized controlled trial cohort of 90 infants born at gestational age (GA) less than 28 weeks. From April 4, 2013, to September 22, 2015, cord blood samples, followed by venous blood samples, were obtained at birth and at 1, 7, 14, and 28 days after birth and then at postmenstrual age (PMA) 32, 36, and 40 weeks at the neonatal intensive care unit at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden. Main Outcomes and Measures: Serum phospholipid fatty acids were transmethylated and measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Mann-Whitney test, logistic regression Spearman rank correlation, and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis were used to compare differences between infants with no ROP and infants who developed ROP. Results: Serum levels from 78 infants (43 male [55%]; mean [SD] GA, 25.5 [1.4] weeks) with a known ROP outcome were evaluated. Lower area under the curve (AUC) of arachidonic acid (AA) (20:4 ω-6) was seen in infants with a later diagnosis of ROP compared with infants with no ROP in the first month of life (mean, 34.05 [95% CI, 32.10-36.00] vs 37.15 [95% CI, 34.85-39.46]; P < .05). In addition, lower levels of AA at 32 weeks' PMA were seen in infants with later severe ROP compared with in those without ROP (mean, 7.06 [95% CI, 6.60-7.52] vs 8.74 [95% CI, 7.80-9.67]; P < .001). In logistic modeling, low postnatal serum levels of AA and GA at birth identified with a sensitivity greater than 90% of infants who developed ROP. Conclusions and Relevance: Low postnatal levels of the ω-6 LC-PUFAs (AA) are strongly associated with ROP development. Evaluating postnatal AA fraction after birth in addition to GA may be useful for ROP prediction. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02760472.

Last updated on 04/09/2018