Introduction: Prematurity is the leading cause of death and disability in children under 5 years of age. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of the biological processes involved in preterm brain injury may help develop novel neuroprotective treatment strategies. A growing body of evidence suggest that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) signaling is associated with inhibited brain development in preterm babies. The Ala allele of the Pro12Ala polymorphism of PPARγ2 decreases receptor binding affinity and consequently induces a reduction of PPARγ signaling. Methods: In this study, we carried out a preliminary analysis of existing datasets to test the hypothesis that reduced transactivation capacity of PPARγ in the presence of the Ala variant of PPARγ2 may be associated with adverse neurodevelopment in preterm babies. The association between PPAR-γ2 Pro12Ala polymorphism and neurodevelopment at 18–24 months of age was assessed in two groups of European infants, 155 born before 33 weeks’ gestation and 180 born later than 36 weeks’ gestation using a linear regression model. The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development–3rd edition was administered to assess neurodevelopment at 18–24 months of age. Results: We observed the Ala allele of the Pro12Ala polymorphism in 25% preterm infants and 20% term infants. The Ala allele of PPARγ2 was significantly associated with adverse cognitive (p =.019), language (p =.03), and motor development (p = 0.036) at 18–24 months of age after taking into consideration the duration of ventilation, gender, and index of multiple deprivation scores, but without correction for potential shared ancestry. There was no association between the PPAR-γ2 Pro12Ala polymorphism and neurodevelopment in term infants. Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that PPARγ signaling in the presence of the Ala variant of PPARγ2 may be associated with adverse neurodevelopment in preterm infants suggesting that further studies are warranted.
- infant, newborn, genetic, PPAR gamma, brain, cognition, single-nucleotide polymorphism