Hormone appears to prevent lung damage in premature babies

Hormone appears to prevent lung damage in premature babies

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Protect infants from lung damage

When babies are born prematurely, they often need oxygen therapy to prevent brain damage or premature death. However, an excess of oxygen can damage immature lungs and cause serious lifelong problems. The hormone adrenomedullin appears to prevent possible damage to the lungs, according to a recent study.

The latest study by the Baylor College of Medicine found that a special hormone could prevent lung damage in premature babies. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Pathology.

Diseases caused by excess oxygen?

Oxygen therapy is often necessary for premature babies to prevent brain damage or death. An excess of oxygen can damage immature lungs and cause serious lifelong problems such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH or PHT).

Adrenomedullin affects the health of the pulmonary vessels

The new study provides insights into the important role that the hormone adrenomedullin plays in the development, healing and prevention of BPD and PH. The study provides evidence that adrenomedullin can affect the progression and resolution of experimental BPD and PH by affecting the health of the lungs.

Adrenomedullin cannot cure BDP

There is no way to cure BPD. However, the results suggest that adrenomedullin can be developed as a therapy to reduce the burden of BPD-associated PH in premature babies. Although adrenomedullin helps repair damaged lungs, blood vessels, and the heart in the elderly, mice, and rats, its role in resolving experimental BPD-associated PH was unclear.

Trials were carried out on mice

The researchers investigated the lung structure and function in newborn mice that were genetically bred to lower their adrenomedullin levels than normal. They exposed day-old mice to normal or elevated oxygen levels for 14 days. The lung structure, including the number of blood vessels and cell damage markers, was then examined until day 28. The heart was also tested for PH on days 28 and 70 using imaging.

Adrenomedullin deficiency was associated with risk of lung damage

The study found that newborn adrenomedullin deficient mice exposed to high oxygen levels were more likely to develop lung damage. These animals had higher cell death, fewer alveoli, fewer pulmonary blood vessels, and more severe symptoms of BPD and PH, from which they recovered more slowly compared to mice with normal adrenomedullin levels. This suggests that adrenomedullin is necessary for normal lung development.

Further effects of the lack of adrenomedullin

The mice with adrenomedullin deficiency also showed lower levels of the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), which indicates that adrenomedullin can mediate its effects via eNOS.

Blocking adrenomedullin reduces blood vessel formation

The research group also analyzed the effects of adrenomedullin in human lung endothelial cells in cell cultures. It has been found that blocking adrenomedullin or its receptors reduces the expression of eNOS and the ability of these cells to form blood vessels.

Is Adrenomedullin Treatment Safe?

On the other hand, treatment with adrenomedullin increased the ability of the cells to form blood vessels. This ability of adrenomedullin was lost when the eNOS function was blocked by genetic manipulation. The researchers believe that adrenomedullin could be a new therapeutic target for the treatment of BPD-associated PH in infants. This hormone is usually produced in the body. Therefore, this hormone treatment appears to be safe without causing major negative effects.

Adrenomedullin can improve quality of life

The results of the study also suggest that adrenomedullin can improve the quality of life of BPD-associated PH patients through its long-lasting positive effects on the lungs and heart. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Renuka T. Menon, Amrit Kumar Shrestha, Corey L. Reynolds, Roberto Barrios, Kathleen M. Caron et al .: Adrenomedullin Is Necessary to Resolve Hyperoxia-Induced Experimental Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Pulmonary Hypertension in Mice, in American Journal of Pathology (Published Feb. 21 , 2020), American Journal of Pathology

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