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Impact of shielding parenteral nutrition from light on routine monitoring of blood glucose and triglyceride levels in preterm neonates
  1. Minesh Khashu1,
  2. Adele Harrison1,
  3. Vikki Lalari1,
  4. Jean-Claude Lavoie2,
  5. Philippe Chessex1
  1. 1
    Division of Neonatology, Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of BC, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  2. 2
    Department of Pediatrics, CHU Sainte–Justine, University of Montreal, QC, Canada
  1. Philippe Chessex, Division of Neonatology, Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of B.C., 4480 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6H 3V4; pchessex{at}


Background: Premature infants are vulnerable to complications related to oxidative stress. Exposure to light increases oxidation products in solutions of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) such as lipid peroxides and hydrogen peroxide. Oxidative stress impairs glucose uptake and affects lipid metabolism. Hypothesis: products of photo-oxidation contaminating TPN affect lipid metabolism.

Objective: Evaluate the effect of photoprotection of TPN in preterm infants on plasma glucose and triglyceride (TG) concentrations.

Design: Secondary analysis of a prospective study allocating preterm infants to light-exposed (LE, n = 32) or light-protected (LP, n = 27) TPN.

Setting: Level III NICU referral centre for patients of British Columbia.

Patients: Preterm infants requiring TPN.

Interventions and outcome measures: TG and blood glucose measured during routine monitoring while on full TPN were compared between LE and LP.

Results: Clinical characteristics were similar between the two groups (gestational age 28±1 wk; birth weight: 1.0±0.1 kg). Nutrient intakes from TPN and from minimal enteral nutrition were comparable between LE and LP. Blood glucose was higher in preterm infants receiving LE (p<0.001). The accumulation of TG with increasing lipid intake was twice as high with LE accounting for significantly higher TG levels on days 8 and 9 (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Failure to photoprotect TPN may cause alterations in intermediary metabolism. Shielding TPN from light provides a potential benefit for preterm infants by avoiding hypertriglyceridaemia allowing for increased substrate delivery.

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  • Funding: This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (grant: MOP 53270).

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The study was approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Board of the University of British Columbia, and by the Clinical Research Committee of the Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of BC.

  • Patient consent: Parental written informed consent was obtained prior to enrolment.