A fetal systemic inflammatory response is followed by the spontaneous onset of preterm parturition.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University/Hutzel Hospital, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.97). 08/1998; 179(1):186-93. DOI: 10.1016/S0002-9378(98)70271-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is no evidence for the participation of the human fetus in the mechanisms responsible for the onset of preterm labor. We propose that preterm labor in the setting of infection results from the actions of proinflammatory cytokines secreted as part of the fetal and/or maternal host response to microbial invasion. The objective of this study was to determine whether a systemic fetal inflammatory response, defined as an elevation of fetal plasma interleukin-6 concentrations, has a temporal relationship with the commencement of labor.
After informed consent was obtained, amniocentesis and cordocentesis were performed in 41 patients with preterm premature rupture of membranes who were not in labor on admission. Amniotic fluid was cultured for both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, as well as for mycoplasmas. Fetal plasma interleukin-6 was assayed by a sensitive and specific immunoassay. Statistical analyses included contingency tables and survival analysis with time-dependent Cox regression hazard modeling.
Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity was present in 58.5% (24/41) of patients. Fetuses with fetal plasma interleukin-6 concentrations > 11 pg/mL had a higher rate of spontaneous preterm delivery within 48 and 72 hours of the procedure than those with fetal plasma interleukin-6 levels < or = 11 pg/mL (88% vs 29% and 88% vs 35%, respectively; P < .05 for all comparisons). Moreover, patients with initiation of labor and delivery within 48 hours of the procedure had a higher proportion of fetuses with plasma interleukin-6 values > 11 pg/mL than patients delivered > 48 hours (58% [7/12] vs 8% [1/13], respectively; P < .05). Survival analysis indicated that fetuses with elevated fetal plasma interleukin-6 levels had a shorter cordocentesis-to-delivery interval than those without elevated fetal plasma interleukin-6 concentrations (median 0.8 days [range 0.1 to 5] vs median 6 days [range 0.2 to 33.6], respectively; P < .05). Time-dependent Cox regression hazard modeling indicated that fetal plasma interleukin-6 level was the only covariate significantly associated with the duration of pregnancy after we adjusted for gestational age, amniotic fluid interleukin-6 level, and the microbiologic state of the amniotic cavity (P < .01).
A systemic fetal proinflammatory cytokine response is followed by the onset of spontaneous preterm parturition in patients with preterm premature rupture of membranes.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: When the normal progression of pregnancy is threatened, inflammatory processes are often amplified in order to minimize detrimental effects and eliminate noxious agents. Inflammasomes are unique, intracellular, multiprotein assemblies that enable caspase-1 mediated proteolytic processing of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β, levels of which are elevated in some forms of preterm birth and maternal metabolic disorders. A comprehensive review based on a search of PubMed and Medline for terms and combinations of terms incorporating 'inflammation', 'inflammasome', 'pregnancy', 'preterm birth', 'pre-eclampsia', 'interleukin-1', 'caspase-1' and others selected to capture key articles. In the decade since the discovery of the inflammasome, between January 2002 and June 2014 over 2200 articles have been published. Articles in the reproductive field are scarce but there is clear evidence for a role of the inflammasome axis in pregnancy, preterm birth and the maternal metabolic syndrome. Further investigations on the inflammasome in pregnancy are needed in order to elucidate the biology of this unique structure in reproduction. Coordination of maternal, fetal and placental aspects of inflammasome function will potentially yield new information on the detection and transduction of host and non-host signals in the inflammatory response. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Human Reproduction Update 11/2014; DOI:10.1093/humupd/dmu059 · 8.66 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Fetal Inflammatory response Syndrome (FIRS) describes a state of extensive fetal multi organ involvement during chorioamnionitis, and is associated with grave implications on perinatal outcome. The syndrome has been linked to the preterm parturition syndrome and is associated with inflammation/ infection processes in most of the fetal organs. The fetal thymus, a major organ in the developing immune system involutes during severe neonatal disease and has been shown to be smaller in fetuses with FIRS. Various methods for imaging of the fetal thymus and measurement are described. Currently the only method to diagnose FIRS prenatally is through amniocentesis. We suggest that women who are admitted with preterm labor with intact membranes and those with PPROM should have a detailed sonographic examination of the fetal thymus as a surrogate marker of fetal involvement in intrauterine infection/inflammation processes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Prenatal Diagnosis 01/2015; 35(5). DOI:10.1002/pd.4560 · 2.51 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 1998, a systemic fetal cytokine response, defined as a plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) value above 11pg/mL, was reported to be a major independent risk factor for the subsequent development of neonatal morbid events even after adjustments for gestational age and other confounders. Since then, the body of literature investigating the use of blood concentrations of IL-6 as a hallmark of the fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS), a diagnostic marker of early-onset neonatal sepsis (EONS) and a risk predictor of white matter injury (WMI), has grown rapidly. In this article, we critically review: IL-6 biological functions; current evidence on the association between IL-6, preterm birth, FIRS and EONS; IL-6 reference intervals and dynamics in the early neonatal period; IL-6 response during the immediate postnatal period and perinatal confounders; accuracy and completeness of IL-6 diagnostic studies for EONS (according to the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy statement); and recent breakthroughs in the association between fetal blood IL-6, EONS, and WMI. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Cytokine 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.cyto.2015.03.015 · 2.87 Impact Factor