Date Published:2015 Sep 15
BACKGROUND: The role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has been clearly established. However, little is known about temporal changes in circulating VEGF concentrations in the preterm infant. The objective was to determine the longitudinal serum concentrations of VEGF in relation to ROP. METHODS: This study included 52 infants born at <31 weeks gestational age (non-ROP n=33, non-proliferative ROP n=10, treated for ROP n=9). VEGF concentrations were analyzed in blood samples collected at birth, at 3 days postnatal age, and then weekly until at least a gestational age of 35 weeks. RESULTS: VEGF concentrations at birth did not differ between groups, independent of later ROP status. In contrast, VEGF serum concentrations were significantly higher at first detection of ROP in infants who were later treated for ROP compared to infants without ROP. At the time of laser therapy, serum VEGF concentrations did not differ between groups. CONCLUSION: Circulatory concentrations of VEGF, in infants who later developed severe ROP, were elevated at the time when ROP first was detected but not at the time when current treatment most often occurred. This supports the need for further studies of circulating VEGF in relation to the timing of ROP treatment.Pediatric Research (2015); doi:10.1038/pr.2015.181.