Contribution of systemic inflammatory response to brain injury in growth restricted newborns

January 2018December 2021
National Health and Medical Research Council

Chief Investigators: Wixey J and Chand K

Growth restriction during pregnancy can damage the baby’s brain and result in poor outcomes such as learning and attention difficulties and cerebral palsy. Currently there is no treatment available to prevent brain injury in these babies. This study will explore the role of inflammation and brain injury in the growth restricted baby. We will also examine whether a readily available and safe anti-inflammatory treatment can reduce
or prevent brain injury following growth restriction.

Hypothesis: Inflammatory markers are prevalent in neonatal blood and brain of IUGR piglets and are associated with neuronal injury and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Aims: In a pre-clinical model of IUGR we will:
1) Investigate the neuropathology and inflammatory mechanisms that underpin IUGR induced brain injury;
2) Examine inflammatory blood biomarkers of brain injury in the IUGR newborn; and
3) Establish the efficacy of an anti-inflammatory intervention on brain outcomes in the IUGR newborn.
We have the potential to detect early changes in blood biomarkers of brain injury, which is critical for early intervention. Defining markers that correlate with neuronal integrity and brain outcomes will be a major advancement in the detection and treatment of brain injury in the IUGR neonate.

Project members

Dr Julie Wixey

Senior Research Fellow
UQ Centre for Clinical Research
Senior Research Fellow
Medical School

Dr Kirat Chand

Research Fellow/Senior Research Officer
UQ Centre for Clinical Research