Hippocampal epigenetic and insulin-like growth factor alterations in noninvasive versus invasive mechanical ventilation in preterm lambs.

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DOI: 10.1038/s41390-020-01305-5; PMCID: PMC7891485


Background: The brain of chronically ventilated preterm human infants is vulnerable to collateral damage during invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Damage is manifest, in part, by learning and memory impairments, which are hippocampal functions. A molecular regulator of hippocampal development is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). A gentler ventilation strategy is noninvasive respiratory support (NRS). We tested the hypotheses that NRS leads to greater levels of IGF1 messenger RNA (mRNA) variants and distinct epigenetic profile along the IGF1 gene locus in the hippocampus compared to IMV.

Methods: Preterm lambs were managed by NRS or IMV for 3 or 21 days. Isolated hippocampi were analyzed for IGF1 mRNA levels and splice variants for promoter 1 (P1), P2, and IGF1A and 1B, DNA methylation in P1 region, and histone covalent modifications along the gene locus.

Results: NRS had significantly greater levels of IGF1 P1 (predominant transcript), and 1A and 1B mRNA variants compared to IMV at 3 or 21 days. NRS also led to more DNA methylation and greater occupancy of activating mark H3K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3), repressive mark H3K27me3, and elongation mark H3K36me3 compared to IMV.

Conclusions: NRS leads to distinct IGF1 mRNA variant levels and epigenetic profile in the hippocampus compared to IMV.

Impact: Our study shows that 3 or 21 days of NRS of preterm lambs leads to distinct IGF1 mRNA variant levels and epigenetic profile in the hippocampus compared to IMV. Preterm infant studies suggest that NRS leads to better neurodevelopmental outcomes later in life versus IMV. Also, duration of IMV is directly related to hippocampal damage; however, molecular players remain unknown. NRS, as a gentler mode of respiratory management of preterm neonates, may reduce damage to the immature hippocampus through an epigenetic mechanism.

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Pediatric research





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