Influence of antenatal magnesium sulfate application on cord blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in premature infants

J Perinat Med. 2014 Jan;42(1):129-34. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2013-0137.


Aim: To investigate the influence of antenatal magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) application on cord blood brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels - the first-line neuroprotection for preventing cerebral palsy in prematurely born infants.

Subjects and methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted by observing 72 pregnant women who were divided into three groups: group I (preterm pregnancy with MgSO4), group II (preterm pregnancy without MgSO4), and group III (full-term pregnancy as control group). Groups I and II were selected by block permutation randomization on subjects. Inclusion criteria consisted of preterm pregnancy at 34 weeks of gestation or less who were in labor or having planned terminations and receiving antenatal corticosteroids. Exclusion criteria consisted of previous complications caused by MgSO4, previous history of antenatal MgSO4 application in the current pregnancy infant was born before 4 h administration of MgSO4 or unborn more than 72 h after maximum course of antenatal MgSO4 of 24 h, prolonged antenatal MgSO4 treatment (>24 h), refusal to participate, and emergent adverse events during the study. Group I was given intravenous MgSO4; initial dose was 4 g, which was maintained at 1 g/h up to maximum of 24 h. Meanwhile, groups II and III were not given any special treatment. BDNF was examined by ELISA by taking 5 mL cord blood sample shortly after birth. The result was statistically measured by ANOVA.

Results: The cord blood BDNF levels in premature infants with antenatal MgSO4 was significantly higher than in premature infants without antenatal MgSO4 (11,568 vs. 5027 pg/mL, P=0.000). Moreover, the result was statistically comparable to full-term infants (11,568 vs. 13,300 pg/mL, P=0.085).

Conclusion: The application of antenatal MgSO4 in preterm delivery increased cord blood BDNF levels, which could have a potential role on fetal neuroprotection. Further investigation is needed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Cerebral Palsy / blood
  • Cerebral Palsy / prevention & control*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / blood
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Magnesium Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth
  • Prenatal Care / methods*


  • Biomarkers
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Magnesium Sulfate