AIM--To use high field proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR) to characterise the low molecular weight metabolite composition of neonatal and fetal urine in relation to gestational age and perinatal outcome. METHODS--The first urine passed by two neonatal groups, six full term and five preterm infants with normal renal function, was analysed by 1H NMR and compared with fetal urine from 14 cases with obstructive uropathy. RESULTS--The mean ratios of taurine, myo-inositol, and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) to creatinine were 4.3, 10.1, and 14.1 times higher, respectively, in the preterm group when compared with those of the full term group. Fetal obstructive uropathy was characterised by glycosuria, amino and organic aciduria, regardless of gestational age (13-30 weeks). CONCLUSIONS--Samples of the first urine passed--that is, urine produced in fetal life--by normal preterm infants are useful controls for cases of obstructive uropathy detected in the third trimester. 1H NMR will become a clinically useful tool for monitoring renal development and abnormalities in utero.
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