New light on white matter damage of the premature brain: a neonatologist’s point of view

Maria Antonietta Marcialis, Angelica Dessì, Roberta Irmesi, Viviana Marinelli, Maria Cristina Pintus


Periventricular leucomalacia (PVL) is traditionally considered a multifactorial lesion related to three main mechanisms: ischemia, inflammation and excitotoxicity. For years it was believed that hypoperfusion, associated with the peculiar vascular anatomy of the premature brain (border zones), was the conditio sine qua non in the pathogenesis of PVL. More recently this theory has been questioned. Many studies have stressed the importance of the association between inflammation/infection and white matter injury and have supported the multi hit hypothesis according to which several (genetic, hormonal, immune and nutritional) factors may team up in a multi-hit fashion. The emerging concept is that the fetal white cell activation together with the interaction between the innate and adaptive immune system play a main role in white matter damage. Currently there are increasing evidence that PVL is a disease of connectivity. In this article we review the news in the basics of pathogenesis, the incidence, the definition and the diagnosis of PVL. Furthermore, recent follow-up studies and neuroprotective therapies are mentioned.


Proceedings of the International Course on Perinatal Pathology (part of the 10th International Workshop on Neonatology · October 22nd-25th, 2014) · Cagliari (Italy) · October 25th, 2014 · The role of the clinical pathological dialogue in problem solving

Guest Editors: Gavino Faa, Vassilios Fanos, Peter Van Eyken


periventricular leucomalacia; white matter damage; cranial ultrasound; very low birth wight; outcome; neuroprotection

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