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Association of Human Beta-Defensin-2 Serum Levels and Sepsis in Preterm Neonates*

Olbrich, Peter MD1; Pavón, Antonio MD, PhD2; Rosso, Maria Luisa MD, PhD2; Molinos, Agueda MD3; de Felipe, Beatriz PhD1; Sanchez, Berta PhD4; Praena-Fernández, Juan Manuel5; Jimenez, Francisco MD, PhD2; Obando, Ignacio MD, PhD1; Neth, Olaf MD, PhD1

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: October 2013 - Volume 14 - Issue 8 - p 796–800
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e3182975e0f
Neonatal Intensive Care

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.

1Department of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunodeficiency, Hospital Infantil Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Seville, Spain.

2Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Infantil Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Seville, Spain.

3Department of Paediatric Haematology, Hospital Infantil Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Seville, Spain.

4Department of Immunology, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Seville, Spain.

5Statistics, Methodology and Research Evaluation Unit, Andalusian Public Foundation for Health Research Management in Seville, Seville, Spain.

* See also p. 824.

Drs. Neth, Olbrich, Delgado, Quintana, Parrilla, Sánchez, Praena- Fernández, and Santaell received grant support from Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias. Dr. de Felipe received grant support from Fondo de Investigación Sanitario and funding from NIH. Dr. Rosso disclosed that she does not have any potential conflicts of interest.

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©2013The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies