Objectives: We prospectively evaluated incidence of prolonged (>28 days) parenteral nutrition (PN), associated complications, and significance of parenteral plant sterols (PS) in neonatal intestinal failure–associated liver disease (IFALD) compared with children.
Methods: We recruited 28 neonates (mean age 50 days, range 28–126) and 11 children (6.9 y, 2.1–16.6) in all of Finland. Patients underwent repeated measurements of serum cholesterol, noncholesterol sterols, including PS, cholestanol and cholesterol precursors, and liver biochemistry during and 1 month after discontinuation of PN. Healthy matched neonates (n = 10) and children (n = 22) served as controls.
Results: IFALD occurred more frequently among neonates (63%) than children (27%; P < 0.05). Ratios of serum PS, including stigmasterol, sitosterol, avenasterol, and campesterol, and total PS were increased among neonates compared with healthy controls and children on PN by 2- to 22- and 2- to 5-fold (P < 0.005), respectively. Neonates with IFALD had significantly higher ratios of serum PS and cholestanol compared with neonates without IFALD (P < 0.05). Total duration of PN associated with serum cholestanol, stigmasterol, avenasterol, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase (r = 0.472–0.636, P < 0.05). Cholestanol and individual serum PS, excluding campesterol, reflected direct bilirubin (r = 0.529–0.688, P < 0.05). IFALD persisted after discontinuation of PN in 25% of neonates with 4.2- and 2.2-times higher ratios of serum stigmasterol and cholestanol compared with neonates without IFALD (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Frequent occurrence of IFALD among neonates on PN displays an association to duration of PN and markedly increased serum PS, especially stigmasterol, in comparison to healthy neonates and children on PN. Striking accumulation of parenteral PS may contribute to IFALD among neonates.