Cytokines and growth factors in the developing intestine and during necrotizing enterocolitis

Krishnan MohanKumar, Kopperuncholan Namachivayam, Thao T.B. Ho, Benjamin A. Torres, Robin K. Ohls, Akhil Maheshwari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cytokines and growth factors play diverse roles in the uninflamed fetal/neonatal intestinal mucosa and in the development of inflammatory bowel injury during necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). During gestational development and the early neonatal period, the fetal/premature intestine is exposed to high levels of many “inflammatory” cytokines and growth factors, first via swallowed amniotic fluid in utero and then, after birth, in colostrum and mother's milk. This article reviews the dual, seemingly counter-intuitive roles of cytokines, where these agents play a “trophic” role and promote maturation of the uninflamed mucosa, but can also cause inflammation and promote intestinal injury during NEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Growth factors
  • Intestinal injury
  • NEC
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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