Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) survivors have microvascular structural differences already described in kidney and retina, suggesting changes in endothelial integrity. A biomarker of endothelial integrity is perfused boundary region (PBR), which measures glycocalycal thickness. The endothelial glycocalyx is a complex, highly versatile structure with essential roles in vascular integrity and function. We explored PBR patterns together with other microvascular markers in healthy controls and former ELBW children.
In the PREMATCH cohort (87 healthy controls, 93 ELBW survivors), we assessed endothelial integrity by calculating PBR (sidestream dark-field imaging), several microvascular markers (blood pressure, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcysC)), and retinal imaging in early adolescence. We explored differences between both groups, and searched for perinatal determinants of PBR and correlations between different microvascular markers.
We provided reference values for PBR (average 1.90 µm, SD 0.30) in children. PBR was not different from ELBW survivors during early adolescence, despite their higher blood pressure, lower eGFRcysC, and different retinal vessel width and tortuosity.
We generated reference values for PBR in early adolescence. Despite some correlations between microvascular parameters, there seem to be numerous confounders to propose PBR as a marker for endothelial integrity in ELBW survivors.