Neonatology pp 2143-2164 | Cite as

Biochemical Basis of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

  • Maria Delivoria-PapadopoulosEmail author
  • Panagiotis Kratimenos
  • Endla K. Anday
Reference work entry


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the most common cause of neurologic disease during the perinatal period, is associated with a high mortality and morbidity rate and also has long-term consequences like cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and seizures. Perinatal HIE is caused by processes that alter the cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the fetus and newborn compromising the supply of oxygen to the brain. They may develop antepartum (20%), intrapartum (30%), antepartum and intrapartum (35%), or postpartum (10%). Acute or long-term consequences of HIE are related either to necrosis or to apoptosis of neuronal cells. Cell necrosis will lead to generalized disruption of internal homeostasis and eventually to the lysis of the cells, which give rise to an inflammatory response with the release of oxygen free radicals and activation of the microglial cells. Apoptosis is programmed cell death, not associated with the lysis of the plasma membrane and inflammation, which can be triggered by hypoxia. It is crucial to restore any failures in the respiratory and circulatory systems, in order to prevent neuronal cell death. However, neonatologists should also be aware of the hazards of medically induced hyperoxia (high FIO2) because this condition may increase the production of oxygen free radicals thus worsening the neuronal insult. Elucidating basic cellular mechanisms in response to hypoxia of the developing brain will enable the development of novel strategies for preventing or attenuating the deleterious effects of hypoxia in the human newborn.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Panagiotis Kratimenos
    • 2
  • Endla K. Anday
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsDrexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Neonatal-Perinatal MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Neonatologist, Children’s National Medical Center, Center for Research in NeuroscienceGeorge Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA

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