Preterm infants are frequently exposed to intermittent hypoxia (IH) associated with apnea and periodic breathing that may result in inflammation and brain injury that later manifests as cognitive and executive function deficits. We used a rodent model to determine whether early postnatal exposure to IH would result in inflammation and brain injury.
Rat pups were exposed to IH from P2–P12. Control animals were exposed to room air. Cytokines were analyzed in plasma and brain tissue at P13 and P18. At P20–P22, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) were performed.
Pups exposed to IH had increased plasma Gro/CXCL1 and cerebellar IFN-γ and IL-1β at P13, and brainstem enolase at P18. DTI showed a decrease in FA and AD in the corpus callosum (CC) and cingulate gyrus and an increase in RD in the CC. MRS revealed decreases in NAA/Cho, Cr, Tau/Cr and Gly/Cr and increases in TCho and GPC in the brainstem and decreases in NAA/Cho in the hippocampus.