Preterm babies and cerebral palsy

Neurodevelopment and cerebral palsy in preterm births

Nearly 10% of all births are preterm births. Even though the survival of preterm babies has improved over the past several decades. Prematurity still accounts for up to 70% of perinatal deaths and if a baby survives problems with neurodevelopment and cerebral palsy often occur.

Invasion of microorganisms results in inflammation of the Brain
Invasion of microorganisms results in inflammation of the Brain
The complications of preterm infants are caused by inflammation affecting the placenta and its membranes termed chorioamnionitis. Chorioamnionitis and preterm birth are strongly linked.
Chorioamnionitis is believed to be the major cause of preterm birth and brain injury. Damage by bacteria on the chorion, amnion, and/or the placenta, can lead to a fetal inflammatory response. The bacterial infections have adverse consequences for the developing fetal brain.

Current research

According to recent research, there is a strong causal link between chorioamnionitis, and severe postnatal neurological deficits and cerebral palsy. At the moment there are no clinical treatments to repair brain injury in preterm babies born after pregnancy compromised by bacterial infection. There is a need for a treatment and at the moment the most promising treatments are therapeutic intervention with stem cells. Many clinical trials are starting to investigate the efficacy of stem cells to treat patients with cerebral palsy. Stem cells, obtained from umbilical cord tissue and cord blood. Which normally thrown away after after birth, are becoming a safe and effective therapy.

At the moment It is unknown which stem cell type(s) are the most best for administration to preterm babies to treat brain demage. Different stem cell populations found in umbilicalcord, such as mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells / hematopoietic stem cells. They have a number of benefits that may target preterm brain damage caused by chorioamnionitis. Mesenchymal stem cells have strong immunomodulatory cabiblities. Protecting against neuroinflammatory processes triggered during infection to the fetus. Hematopotic stem cells have vascular reparative qualities that make them ideal for neurovascular repair.

A promising therapy is to combine Mesenchymal stem cells with endothelial progenitor cells /hematopoietic stem cells to target inflammation and promote vascular reparation.

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