Background and Aims The assumption that the circulating progenitor cells participate in a chemotactic way in the endogenous regeneration effort after damage of body tissues is controversial and the exact type of the cells involved remains unknown, especially when referring to damages of the Central Nervous System (CNS). We assume that preterm neonates who undergo CNS injury respond in a similar way, and we investigate the progenitor cell populations that might be related to the devastating event.
Methods 23 preterm newborns were enrolled (gestation age ≤32weeks). 10 of them undergo severe perinatal stress with metabolic acidosis and developed CNS injury (IVH III or higher, PVL or infarct), whereas 13 of them were assumed as controls with no obvious CNS injury. Peripheral blood was collected at days 1, 3, 9, 18 and 45 after birth and analyzed using flow cytometry. Cell populations of interest were EPCs (Endothelial progenitor cells, CD34+/CD133+/CD184+), HSCs (Hematopoietic stem cells, CD34+/CD184+/CD45+) and VSELs (Very Small Embryonic-Like SCs, CD34+/CD184+/CD45-).
Results EPCs were significantly increased in the group with CNS injury at days 1.9 and 18 and VSELs were marginally increased at day 1 and significantly at day 9. HSCs showed no specific variation.
Conclusion Circulating progenitor cells seem to play a role in the endogenous regeneration effort. Enhancing this effort might prove to be a good therapeutic practice in the future, whereas delineation of the timeframe of this effort would be essential. Larger studies are needed, as well as correlation with chemoattractants and longterm outcome is necessary.