Inflammatory molecules are promptly upregulated in the fetal environment and postnatally in brain-damaged subjects. Intrauterine infections and inflammation are often associated with asphyxia. This double-hit effect by combined infection or inflammation and hypoxia is therefore a frequent concomitant in neonatal brain damage. Animal models combining hypoxia and infection were recently designed to explore the mechanisms underlying brain damage in such circumstances and to look for possible neuroprotective strategies. Proinflammatory cytokines are thought to be major mediators in brain injury in neonates with perinatal asphyxia, bacterial infection, or both. Cytokines, however, could also have neuroprotective properties. The critical point in the balance between neurodamaging and neuroprotective effects of cytokines has yet to be unraveled. This understanding might help to develop new therapeutic approaches to counteract the inflammatory disequilibrium observed in the pathophysiologic mechanisms associated with brain injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Clinical Neurology