The importance of pro-inflammatory signaling in neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis

Semin Perinatol. 2008 Apr;32(2):100-6. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2008.01.001.


Despite modern medical advances, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in neonatal intensive care units, affecting 10% of premature neonates born weighing less than 1500 g. Although many advances have been made in the understanding of NEC, the etiology and pathophysiology remain incompletely understood, and treatment is limited to supportive care. In recent years, many studies have evaluated the inflammatory cascade that is central to the disease process, and research is ongoing into strategies to prevent and/or ameliorate neonatal NEC. In this review, we examine the key points in the signaling pathways involved in NEC, and potential strategies for prevention and treatment of this dreaded disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / metabolism*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / pathology*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases
  • Platelet Activating Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Platelet Activating Factor
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha