Background Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a major cause of neurologic impairment and mortality in neonates suffering from perinatal asphyxia. Early information on prognosis is of great importance to guide therapeutic decisions and to inform the parents. The neuropeptide secretoneurin (SN) was shown to be a promising early serum biomarker of an unfavourable neurological outcome in adult patients after cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Currently, there are no studies on SN levels in neonates available.
Aim To determine physiological SN levels in healthy term neonates and to assess its potential as a biomarker for HIE in newborn infants.
Methods At present this study prospectively enrolled 46 healthy term born neonates (29 male) and four term born neonates with moderate to severe HIE. SN levels were assessed by radioimmunoassay in cord blood.
Results In healthy newborn infants mean SN serum levels in cord blood were 126.33 ± 87.47 fmol/ml. In the four patients diagnosed with moderate to severe HIE, SN levels in cord blood were significantly higher compared to healthy controls (253.48 ± 102.55 fmol/ml, p < 0.05).
Conclusion SN serum levels in healthy neonates contained on average 126 fmol/ml, which is in accordance with elevated SN serum levels observed in children compared to adults in a previous study. In patients with moderate to severe HIE SN serum levels were significantly increased compared to healthy controls. We are currently enrolling further patients to investigate a possible association with the neurological outcome.