Plasma platelet activating factor acetylhydrolase in preterm and term neonates

F. R. Moya, H. Eguchi, C. R. Rosenfeld, B. Zhao, J. M. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Platelet activating factor (PAF) may play a role in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis. PAF is metabolized by the enzyme PAF acetylhydrolase to the biologically inactive lyso-PAF. We sought to characterize the changes of plasma PAF acetylhydrolase activity during the perinatal period. Methods: We determined plasma PAF acetylhydrolase activity sequentially during the first 3 weeks after birth in 35 neonates of different gestational age, and in adult subjects. Results: Very immature preterm neonates (n = 11, 28.2 ± 0.4 weeks at birth) had a plasma PAF acetylhydrolase activity of 9.8 ± 1.4 nmol min-1 ml-1 at 1-2 days after birth. PAF acetylhydrolase activity in larger preterm neonates (n = 14, 32.6 ± 0.3 weeks) and term neonates (n = 10, 39.7 ± 0.2 weeks) was 13.0 ± 2.6 and 13.8 ± 2.5 nmol min-1 ml-1, respectively. Maternal plasma PAF acetylhydrolase activity (n = 7) measured soon after delivery was higher than neonatal values (25.0 ± 1.4 nmol min-1 ml-1, p < 0.01). Plasma PAF acetylhydrolase activity increased similarly in the three groups of neonates and at 1 week after birth did not differ from maternal values. Neonatal and maternal PAF acetylhydrolase activities were lower than that of normal non-pregnant adults (males 53.0 ± 6.1, females 38.012.4 nmol min-1 ml-1). Conclusions: The activity of the enzyme that metabolizes PAF is decreased during the perinatal period. The lower activity of plasma PAF acetylhydrolase may predispose neonates to disease mediated by PAF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-84
Number of pages5
JournalPrenatal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Newborn
  • Platelet activating factor
  • Platelet activating factor acetylhydrolase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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