As neonatal intensive care has evolved, the focus has shifted from improving mortality alone to an effort to improve both mortality and morbidity. The most frequent source of neonatal brain injury occurs as a result of hypoxic-ischemic injury. Hypoxic-ischemic injury occurs in about 2 of 1,000 full-term infants and severe injured infants will have lifetime disabilities and neurodevelopmental delays. Most recently, remarkable efforts toward neuroprotection have been started with the advent of therapeutic hypothermia and a key step in the evolution of neonatal neuroprotection is the discovery of biomarkers that enable the clinician-scientist to screen infants for brain injury, monitor progression of disease, identify injured brain regions, and assess efficacy of neuroprotective clinical trials. Lastly, biomarkers offer great hope identifying when an injury occurred shedding light on the potential pathophysiology and the most effective therapy. In this article, we will review biomarkers of HIE including S100B, neuron specific enolase, umbilical cord IL-6, CK-BB, GFAP, myelin basic protein, UCHL-1, and pNF-H. We hope to contribute to the awareness, validation, and clinical use of established as well as novel neonatal brain injury biomarkers.
Keywords: biomarkers; brain injury; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.