An elevated hematogenous photosensitizer in the preterm neonate

L. A. Bynoe, J. D. Gottsch, S. R. Sadda, R. W. Panton, E. M.S. Haller, C. A. Gleason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose. Human blood contains low levels of protoporphyrin IX (PP IX), a photoactive compound that produces reactive oxygen species when exposed to light. It has been proposed that photoactivation of PP IX and subsequent generation of potentially tissue-damaging reactive oxygen may be a mechanism of retinal injury in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The purpose of this study is to determine an association between blood PP IX level and infant birthweight and gestational age. Methods. Erythrocyte PP IX levels were measured from the umbilical cord blood of 31 neonates, both full term and preterm. Birthweights and gestational ages were recorded. Results. PP IX levels in infants weighing < 1000 grams (n = 7) average 200 μg/dl, which is significantly higher than PP IX levels in infants weighing > 1000 grams (125 μg/dl, n = 24; P < 0.02). Conclusion. Elevated PP IX levels may place preterm neonates at increased risk for photosensitizing retinal injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2878-2880
Number of pages3
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • ROP
  • hematogenous photosensitization
  • light exposure
  • preterm neonate
  • protoporphyrin IX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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