Sporadic data present in literature report how preterm birth and low birth weight
are risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases in later life. High
levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), a strong inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis,
are associated with the future development of adverse cardiovascular events and cardiac
1) to verify the presence of a statistically significant difference between ADMA levels
in young adults born preterm at extremely low birth weight (<1000 g; ex-ELBW) and
those of a control group of healthy adults born at term (C) and 2) to seek correlations
between ADMA levels in ex-ELBW and anthropometric and clinical parameters (gender,
chronological age, gestational age, birth weight, and duration of stay in Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit).
Thirty-two ex-ELBW subjects (11 males [M] and 21 females [F], aged 17-29years, mean
age 22.2 ± 2.3 years) were compared with 25 C (7 M and 18F). ADMA levels were assessed
by high-performance liquid chromatography with highly sensitive laser fluorescent
ADMA levels were reduced in ex-ELBW subjects compared to C (0.606+0.095 vs 0.562+0.101
μmol/L, p<0.05), and significantly correlated inversely with gestational age (r=-0.61,
p<0.00001) and birth weight (r=-0.57, p<0.0002).
Our findings reveal a significant decrease in ADMA levels of ex-ELBW subjects compared
to C, underlining a probable correlation with preterm birth and low birth weight.
Taken together, these results may underlie the onset of early circulatory dysfunction
predictive of increased cardiovascular risk.
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