Original Article

Serum Erythropoietin, Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 and Vascular Endothelial Growt Factor in Ethiopathogenesis of Retinopathy of Prematurity


  • Özlem Yenice
  • Ahmed Ashour
  • Eren Çerman
  • Ridvan Firat
  • Goncagül Haklar
  • Önder Sirikçi
  • Ipek Akman
  • Haluk Kazokoglu

Received Date: 07.03.2012 Accepted Date: 13.08.2012 Turk J Ophthalmol 2012;42(6):423-428


The aim of this study was to determine the serum levels of erythropoietin (EPO), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that possibly play an important role in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and to investigate their relationship with each other.

Material and Method:

In this study, 93 infants with gestational age of less than 32 weeks or had a birth weight of less than 2000 g were investigated prospectively. To determine levels of EPO, VEGF and IGF-1, samples were collected from cord blood and were reserved at -80°C. Serum levels of cytokines in babies with and without ROP (ROP+ and ROP-) were determined and their relationship with each other was investigated.


ROP was found in 57 (61.3%) babies. There was a significant difference between ROP- and ROP+ groups for birth weight (1678.06±326.03 g; 1383.95±343.23 g; p=0,001) and birth week (29.65±2.34 weeks; 32.22±1.49 weeks; p=0,001) correspondingly. Besides, IGF-1 levels correlated significantly with birth weight (r=0.509; p=0.001) and birth week (r=0.586, p=0.001). Median serum levels in ROP(-) group were 19.45 ng/ml (0-40 ng/ml) for IGF-1, 1159.5 pg/ml (396.59-2389.25 pg/ml) for VEGF, and 6.14 mU/ml (2.6-35.4 mU/ml) for EPO. The median serum levels in ROP+ group were 0 ng/ml (0-30.6 ng/ml) for IGF-1, 864.98 pg/ml (182.57-2133.05 pg/ml) for VEGF, and 6.07 mU/ml (2.4-90.2 mU/ml) for EPO. Levels of IGF-1 (p=0.008) and VEGF (p=0.011) were significantly lower in the ROP(+) group. Serum VEGF correlated with EPO levels (r=0.275; p=0.019).


Serum IGF-1 and VEGF levels at birth may be measured to assess the risk for developing ROP. (Turk J Ophthalmol 2012; 42: 423-8)

Keywords: Retinopathy of prematurity, erythropoietin, VEGF, IGF-1

Full Text (Turkish)