Ground-Breaking Research to Improve the Health of Preterm Infants
The Division of Perinatal Biology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is dedicated to improving the lives of infants through research. As part of the Section of Neonatology, Perinatal and Pulmonary Biology and as a partner in the Perinatal Institute, we work closely with the Divisions of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology to improve the outcomes for mothers and infants.
In the United States, 13 percent of all infants are born premature (less than 37 weeks’ gestation). These premature infants account for 60 percent of neonatal deaths. Preterm infants born at 32 weeks’ gestation or less are at risk for many health complications including:
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- White matter brain disease
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
Perinatal infections and exposure to mechanical ventilation are often associated with these complications. A unique aspect of the pathology is that inflammation in the preterm infant develops in the context of an immature immune system. After a series of ground-breaking experiments, researchers in the Division of Perinatal Biology have developed preterm sheep models to study the pathogenesis of lung and systemic inflammatory responses. This research work is translational in nature.