Objectives: To determine human beta-defensin-2 levels in term and preterm neonates at birth and to evaluate its impact on sepsis.
Design: Observational study.
Setting: Single tertiary care hospital.
Patients: Term neonates and preterm neonates were recruited and divided in groups according to important clinical events.
Interventions: Cord blood samples were drawn from all newborns immediately after birth. Human beta-defensin-2 levels were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technology. All neonates were followed clinically during the first 30 days of life.
Measurements and Main Results: Forty-two term and 31 preterm neonates were enrolled. Human beta-defensin-2 levels in term neonates were higher compared with preterm infants (median, 1,882 vs 918 pg/mL; p = 0.003) and correlated with gestational age and birth weight. Of 31 preterm neonates, seven suffered from late-onset sepsis, and this was associated with lower human beta-defensin-2 levels (median, 513 vs 1,411 pg/mL; p = 0.006).
Conclusion: Preterm neonates show lower human beta-defensin-2 levels in cord blood compared with term neonates. Low human beta-defensin-2 levels in preterm neonates might be associated with an increased risk of late-onset sepsis.