Perinatal infection, fetal inflammatory response, white matter damage, and cognitive limitations in children born preterm

Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2002;8(1):46-50. doi: 10.1002/mrdd.10005.


Only sparse information is available about a possible association between antenatal infection outside the brain and subsequent cognitive limitations among preterm infants. Based on published studies, we provide a theoretical schema that links them via the fetal inflammatory response and neonatal white matter damage. We conclude that the relationship between antenatal infection and cognitive limitations deserves much further attention by researchers interested in the prevention of this undesirable outcome of prematurity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / etiology*