• Neurologic outcomes;
  • Oligodendrocytes;
  • Premature infant;
  • White matter injury

Neurocognitive outcomes of infants born very preterm (less than 32 weeks gestation) remain a major concern in perinatal practice. Very preterm birth rates have increased, with enhanced survival since 1990. As focal brain lesions become less common, diffuse injury to both gray and white matter is now the primary focus for improving neurologic outcomes in survivors. Recent evidence supports preoligodendrocytes as the principal cellular target of diffuse white matter injury due to their susceptibility to hypoxic-ischemic and inflammatory insults. An understanding of their development and vulnerability can inform acute nursing care of very preterm infants. JOGNN, 36, 386-395; 2007. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2007.00156.x