Oral mucosal microvascular abnormalities: An early marker of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Claudio De Felice, Giuseppe Latini, Stefano Parrini, Giorgio Bianciardi, Paolo Toti, Robert J. Kopotic, Donald Null

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


An abnormal pulmonary vasculature has been reported as an important component of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). We tested the hypothesis of an early abnormal vascular network pattern in infants with BPD. Fifteen infants with BPD (nine boys and six girls; gestational age 27.5 ± 2.0 wk; birth weight 850 ± 125 g) and 15 sex- and gestational age-matched infants (nine boys and six girls; gestational age 27.6 ± 2.6 wk; birth weight 865 ± 135 g) were examined on postnatal days 1 and 28. BPD infants showed a significantly higher prevalence of histologic chorioamnionitis (p = 0.009), as well as higher intubation duration (p = 0.0004), oxygen supplementation (p < 0.0001), and initial illness severity (p = 0.0002) than the BPD-negative population. The lower gingival and vestibular oral mucosa was chosen as the study area. The blood vessel area was determined, and the oral vascular networks were characterized by analyzing their complexity (D, at two scales: D 1-46, D 1-15), tortuosity (Dmin), and randomness (L-Z) of the vascular loops. Infants with BPD showed a significantly lower blood vessel area as well as a higher vascular network complexity (D 1-46, D 1-15, and L-Z) than control subjects (p < 0.0001). Our findings provide a new early clinical sign in BPD and stress the importance of an early disorder in the oral mucosal vascularization process in the disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-931
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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