Neonatology, Developmental Neuroscience

Dr. A. Gavilanes
Prof. B. Kramer
Prof. H. Steinbusch
Prof. J. Vles
Prof. L. Zimmermann

Focus of research:   
Asphyxia and inflammation

We focused on the study of the impact of asphyxia and inflammation during fetal and neonatal CNS development. The topics were:

  1. Fetal asphyxia (FA): our data support the concept that severe FA has a critical role in neurodegeneration and aging in the rat. Dr. R. Jellema tested new therapeutic approaches to neuroprotection in preterm lambs. Intrauterine treatment with mesenchymal stem cells showed neuroprotection and preserved brain function. Dr. Jellema received the national Chiesi research award for his work. Drs. D. Ophelders and M. Nikiforou continue this line of research in order to pave the way towards a clinical application.
  2. Fetal asphyctic preconditioning: Dr. E. Vlassaks and Drs. M. Sparnaaij characterized the basic mechanisms of brain, cerebellar, systemic and placental inflammatory response, and Drs. K. Cox showed the fetal brain genomic reprogramming in this model of endogenous neuroprotection due to sub-lethal FA in the rat.
  3. Fetal inflammation: Dr. E. Strackx and dr. E. Kuypers documented cortical cerebellar changes due to chorioamnionitis in the preterm lamb that might account for the motor and non-motor deficits seen in neonates born after antenatal inflammation. This approach is further developed by Drs. Daan Ophelders.
  4. Biomarkers: Drs. Sannia and Drs. Risso (Italian PhD-students) studied two neuromarkers (S100B and Activin A) in non-invasively collected biological fluids (saliva and urine) as potential tools for brain damage detection and prognostic evaluation in newborn infants at risk for brain injury.