Résumé : Background: The Ki-67 antigen appears in all human proliferating cells during late G1, S, M and G2 phases of the cell cycle, but is consistently absent in the Go phase (noncycling) cells. The correlation between Ki-67 in the brainstem and sleep apnea in victims of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was investigated to elucidate cell kinetics in the brainstem of this condition, which is still the main cause of postneonatal infant death. Materials and methods: Twenty-six cases of SIDS occurred among 38 infants dying under 6 months of age in a cohort of 27,000 infants studied prospectively to characterize their sleep-wake behavior. All the infants had been recorded during one night in a pediatric sleep laboratory some 3-12 weeks before death. The frequency and duration of sleep apnea were analyzed. At autopsy, brainstem material was collected and immunohistochemistry for Ki-67 was carried out. The density of Ki-67-positive neurons was measured semiquantitatively. Correlation analyses were carried out between the density of Ki-67-positive neurons and the data on sleep apnea. Results: Except in two cases in SIDS victims and in one control, the detection of Ki-67 was negative. No correlation analysis between the Ki-67 and of sleep apnea was found. Conclusions: There were no abnormal cell kinetics detected by the demonstration of Ki-67 antigen in the brainstems of SIDS victims. © 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.