Pre-treatment with caffeine was found to prevent the PGE1-induced respiratory complications in an animal model, said researchers.
Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital presented results of a study that investigated whether there are any deleterious effects of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) treatment on breathing and whether these effects would be prevented via pre-treatment with caffeine.
PGE1 is a life-saving medication for infants with certain types of congenital heart disease, but can also cause respiratory complications such as apnea, which if severe enough may necessitate intubation.
Two hours after PGE1 injection, the rats exhibited a significant alteration in the HVR, a finding suggestive of unstable breathing possibly via an undesirable disruption of CNS respiratory neural control regions. Further supportive evidence of a CNS effect of PGE1 on breathing was the finding that PGE1 also decreased brainstem Iba-1 (a marker of microglia) mRNA expression. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the CNS and have previously been shown to modulate breathing, but this study is the first to show that they may play a role in mediating the respiratory disturbances associated with PGE1. Perhaps the most surprising finding was that pretreatment with caffeine prevented all the adverse effects of PGE1 on both breathing and Iba-1 expression. A more selective adenosine 2A receptor antagonist (MSX-3) had a similar beneficial effect.
Prostaglandin's effects could be mediated thorough microglia, and caffeine could be a convenient treatment to prevent respiratory instability in infants receiving PGE1 infusion."