Objectives: To determine if tracheal lavage concentrations of the transcription factor NF-κB, which is activated by risk factors associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and induces expression of cytokines associated with BPD, is related to BPD in premature infants.
Design: Serial tracheal lavage samples from intubated premature infants were analysed for cell count and concentrations of interleukin (IL)8 and NF-κB, corrected for dilution by secretory component concentrations.
Setting: Level III university hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
Patients: Thirty three intubated infants (mean (SD) birth weight 903 (258) g, median gestation 27 weeks (range 24–31)) in the first 14 days of life.
Main outcome measures: Tracheal effluent NF-κB, IL8, and cell counts, corrected for dilution by secretory component measurement.
Results: Square root transformed NF-κB concentrations were significantly related to signs of inflammation (cell count, p = 0.002; IL8, p = 0.019) and to simultaneous fraction of inspired oxygen in samples from the first 3 days of life (r = 0.512, p<0.003). Of the 32 subjects with samples in the first 3 days of life, the half who either died or had BPD had higher NF-κB concentrations than those without BPD (square root concentration 0.097 (0.043) v 0.062 (0.036) μg/μg protein/μg secretory component, p = 0.018).
Conclusions: Tracheobronchial lavage NF-κB concentrations are related to lung inflammation, oxygen exposure, and pulmonary outcome in intubated preterm infants. NF-κB activation may be an early critical step leading to BPD.
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Published online first 27 July 2005
Competing interests: none declared
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