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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common and serious acquired gastrointestinal tract condition. This clinical study assessed the potential clinical efficacy and microscopic effects of recombinant human epidermal growth factor 1-48 (EGF(1-48)) in neonates with NEC. METHODS: This prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled study included 8 neonates with NEC. The study compared the effects of a 6-day continuous intravenous infusion of EGF(1-48) at 100 ng kg(-1) h(-1) against placebo. Clinical outcomes and morphological evaluation of serial rectal mucosal biopsies were assessed at baseline and 4, 7, and 14 days after starting EGF infusions. RESULTS: There was no difference between the clinical safety outcomes recorded for EGF(1-48) or placebo patients. Quantitative morphologic differences in the rectal mucosa biopsies were noted with EGF(1-48) treatment compared with baseline or placebo and included a statistically significant increase in the number of mitoses per mucosal crypt on study day 4, significantly increased thickness of rectal mucosa from baseline on study days 4 and 7, and increased crypt surface area of rectal mucosa in parallel with increased mucosa thickness on day 14. CONCLUSION: This study of EGF(1-48) in neonates with severe NEC showed that growth factor treatment was well tolerated and produced positive and measurable remodeling trophic effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pediatr Surg

Publication Date





462 - 469


Double-Blind Method, Enterocolitis, Necrotizing, Epidermal Growth Factor, Female, Gastrointestinal Agents, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Intestinal Mucosa, Male, Peptide Fragments, Prospective Studies