Secretoneurin Serum Levels in Healthy Term Neonates and Neonates with Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy

Neonatology. 2016;110(1):14-20. doi: 10.1159/000444245. Epub 2016 Mar 12.


Background: Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is a major cause of neurologic impairment and mortality in neonates. Early knowledge of brain injury is important to guide therapeutic decisions and reliably inform the parents. Increased secretoneurin levels have been detected in adult patients suffering from brain injury and it has also been shown to be a promising early serum biomarker of unfavourable neurological outcome. However, no data are available in neonates.

Objective: The aim of this study was to obtain reference values for secretoneurin in healthy term neonates and then to assess the potential of this neuropeptide as a biomarker in the context of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy in asphyxiated term neonates.

Methods: A total number of 139 term neonates, of which 7 were asphyxiated and 132 were healthy, were prospectively enrolled. Secretoneurin serum concentrations were assessed by radioimmunoassay.

Results: In healthy controls, secretoneurin serum concentrations were influenced by the mode of delivery (highest in infants born per vacuum extraction and lowest in infants born per caesarean section) and abnormal cardiotocography. In asphyxiated term neonates, secretoneurin concentrations were higher in umbilical cord blood and significantly lower 48 h after birth in comparison to healthy controls.

Conclusion: Secretoneurin levels are elevated in cord blood in infants suffering from hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy following perinatal asphyxia. The potential of secretoneurin as a marker of neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury should be further evaluated in larger trials.

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / blood*
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / complications*
  • Austria
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Injuries / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / blood*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neuropeptides / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Secretogranin II / blood*
  • Term Birth


  • Biomarkers
  • Neuropeptides
  • Secretogranin II
  • secretoneurin