Pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Semin Perinatol. 2006 Aug;30(4):171-8. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2006.05.003.


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), initially described 40 years ago, is a dynamic clinical entity that continues to affect tens of thousands of premature infants each year. BPD was first characterized as a fibrotic pulmonary endpoint following severe Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). It was the result of pulmonary healing after RDS, high oxygen exposure, positive pressure ventilation, and poor bronchial drainage secondary to endotracheal intubation in premature infants. With improved treatment for RDS, including surfactant replacement, oxygen saturation monitoring, improved modes of mechanical ventilation, antibiotic therapies, nutritional support, and infants surviving at younger gestations, the clinical picture of BPD has changed. In the following pages, we will summarize the multifaceted pathophysiologic factors leading to the pulmonary changes in "new" BPD, which is primarily characterized by disordered or delayed development. The contribution of hyperoxia and hypoxia, mechanical forces, vascular maldevelopment, inflammation, fluid management, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), nutrition, and genetics will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / prevention & control
  • Fluid Therapy / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / growth & development
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Oxygen