Original Article

Elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in preterm infants with pulmonary colonization with Ureaplasma

John T. Meadows Jr, Benjamin T. Kopp, Lori A. Shook, Hubert O. Ballard, Don Hayes Jr


Background: A link between pulmonary Ureaplasma spp. colonization in premature infants and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) exists and could possibly contribute to systemic inflammation.
Methods: A prospective cohort study was performed from July 2006 to July 2007 where very low birth weight (VLBW) premature infants were screened at birth. Serum and tracheal aspirate samples were collected during the first 28 days of life that represented the early high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) group, and follow-up samples obtained between 28-42 days of life were the late hs-CRP group. An Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for hs-CRP was performed on serum samples while tracheal aspirates underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis for Ureaplasma spp.
Results: A total of 65 patients were screened. 30 patients completed full analysis, 15 died before early and late hs-CRP samples could be obtained, and 20 had incomplete data due to early discharge or transfer. There was no significant difference between all early and late hs-CRP group levels (mg/L), median [interquartile range] 1.019 [0.242, 5.844] vs. 0.773 [0.143, 8.954] (P=0.3958); however, there was a significant difference when comparing Ureaplasma spp. positivity vs. negativity between both groups, median 2.223 [0.398, 7.099] vs. 0.675 [0.219, 4.038] (P=0.0131) for the early group and median 2.335 [0.359, 14.91] vs. 0.2155 [0.122, 2.296] (P=0.03) for the late group, respectively.
Conclusions: VLBW premature infants colonized with Ureaplasma spp. have an elevated hs-CRP, suggestive of a chronic low-grade systemic inflammatory response.

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