Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations at Birth and Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Very and Extremely Preterm Infants

M.J. Huizing, M. Borges-Lujan, G. Cavallaro, G.E. Gonzalez-Luis, G. Raffaeli, P. Bas-Suarez, J.A. Bakker, R.M. Moonen, E. Villamor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Amino acids are increasingly recognized as bioactive molecules in numerous physiological and pathophysiological pathways. The non-essential amino acid glutamate is vasoactive in the rat ductus arteriosus (DA) and a decrease in its levels within the 1st days of life has been associated with the presence of patent DA (PDA) in extremely preterm infants. However, these findings have not been confirmed in other studies.Objective: To investigate the possible association between amino acid concentrations in the 1st day of life and the presence of PDA in a cohort of 121 newborns with gestational age (GA) below 30 weeks and birth weight (BW) below 1,500 g.Methods: Plasma samples were collected 6-12 h after birth and amino acid concentrations were determined by tandem mass spectrometry. Besides PDA, we analyzed the potential association of amino acid concentrations with infant sex, small for GA (SGA, defined as BW < third percentile), antenatal corticosteroids, chorioamnionitis, and preeclampsia. Group differences were analyzed by ANOVA adjusted for GA and BW. A Bonferroni significance threshold of P < 0.0024 was used to correct for multiple testing.Results: PDA was found in 48 of the 121 infants examined. We observed higher mean levels of glutamate in infants with PDA (147.0 mu mol/L, SD 84.0) as compared with those without (106.7 mu mol/L, SD 49.1, P = 0.0006). None of the other amino acid concentrations in the PDA group reached the level of statistical significance that was pre-set to correct for multiple comparisons. Glutamate levels were not significantly affected by infant sex, being SGA, or by exposure to antenatal corticosteroids, clinical chorioamnionitis, or preeclampsia.Conclusion: Our study not only does not confirm the previous findings of low glutamate levels in preterm infants with PDA, but we have even found elevated glutamate concentrations associated with PDA. Nevertheless, despite the high statistical significance, the difference in glutamate levels may lack clinical significance or may be an epiphenomenon associated with the particular clinical condition of infants with PDA.
Original languageEnglish
Article number647018
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2021


  • amino acids
  • ductus arteriosus [mesh]
  • glutamate
  • metabolomic analysis
  • preterm (birth)
  • ductus arteriosus [MeSH]


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