Background: Cases of necrotizing enterocolitis occurring within 48 h of packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions are increasingly being described in observational studies. Transfusion-associated gut injury is speculated to result from an abnormal mesenteric vascular response to transfusion. However, the mechanism of disruption of the balance between mesenteric vasoconstriction and relaxation following transfusion is not known. Methods: Preterm lambs (n = 16, 134 d gestation; term: 145-147 d) were delivered and ventilated for 24 h. All the lambs received orogastric feeds with colostrum. In addition, 10 of these lambs received PRBC transfusions. Vasoreactivity was evaluated in isolated mesenteric arterial rings using norepinephrine and endothelin-1 as vasoconstrictors. Endothelium-dependent (A23187, a calcium ionophore) and endothelium-independent (SNAP) nitric oxide (NO) donors were used as vasorelaxants. Mesenteric arterial endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), and phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) mRNA analyses and protein assays were performed. Results: Transfusion with PRBC significantly increased mesenteric vasoconstriction to norepinephrine and endothelin-1 and impaired relaxation to A23187 and SNAP. Mesenteric arterial eNOS protein decreased following PRBC transfusion. No significant changes were noted in sGC and PDE5 mRNA or protein assays. Conclusion: PRBC transfusion in enterally fed preterm lambs promotes mesenteric vasoconstriction and impairs vasorelaxation by reducing mesenteric arterial eNOS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health