Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) of the preterm neonate is a complex developmental disorder, with contributions from both the environment and the genome. IVH, or hemorrhage into the germinal matrix of the developing brain with secondary periventricular infarction, occurs in that critical period of time before the 32nd to 33rd wk postconception and has been attributed to changes in cerebral blood flow to the immature germinal matrix microvasculature. Emerging data suggest that genes subserving coagulation, inflammatory, and vascular pathways and their interactions with environmental triggers may influence both the incidence and severity of cerebral injury and are the subject of this review. Polymorphisms in the Factor V Leiden gene are associated with the atypical timing of IVH, suggesting an as yet unknown environmental trigger. The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) variants render neonates more vulnerable to cerebral injury in the presence of perinatal hypoxia. The present study demonstrates that the MTHFR 677C>T polymorphism and low 5-min Apgar score additively increase the risk of IVH. Finally, review of published preclinical data suggests the stressors of delivery result in hemorrhage in the presence of mutations in collagen 4A1, a major structural protein of the developing cerebral vasculature. Maternal genetics and fetal environment may also play a role.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health