Sonia S Hassan

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maryland, United States

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Publications (325)700.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to characterize the vaginal microbiota throughout normal human pregnancy using sequence-based techniques. We compared the vaginal microbial composition of non-pregnant patients with a group of pregnant women who delivered at term. A retrospective case-control longitudinal study was designed and included non-pregnant women (n = 32) and pregnant women who delivered at term (38 to 42 weeks) without complications (n = 22). Serial samples of vaginal fluid were collected from both non-pregnant and pregnant subjects. A 16S rRNA gene sequence-based survey was conducted using pyrosequencing to characterize the structure and stability of the vaginal microbiota. Linear mixed effects models and generalized estimating equations were used to identify the phylotypes whose relative abundance was different between the two study groups. The vaginal microbiota of normal pregnant women was different from that of non-pregnant women (higher abundance of Lactobacillus vaginalis, L. crispatus, L. gasseri and L. jensenii and lower abundance of 22 other phylotypes in pregnant women). Bacterial community state type (CST) IV-B or CST IV-A characterized by high relative abundance of species of genus Atopobium as well as the presence of Prevotella, Sneathia, Gardnerella, Ruminococcaceae, Parvimonas, Mobiluncus and other taxa previously shown to be associated with bacterial vaginosis were less frequent in normal pregnancy. The stability of the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women was higher than that of non-pregnant women; however, during normal pregnancy, bacterial communities do shift but almost exclusively from one CST dominated by Lactobacillus spp. to another CST dominated by Lactobacillus spp. We report the first longitudinal study of the vaginal microbiota in normal pregnancy. Differences in the composition and stability of the microbial community between pregnant and non-pregnant women were observed. Lactobacillus spp. were the predominant members of the microbial community in normal pregnancy. These results can serve as the basis to study the relationship between the vaginal microbiome and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
    Microbiome. 02/2014; 2(1):4.
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    ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) has been traditionally performed using traditional cultivation techniques, which require growth of microorganisms in the laboratory. Shortcomings of culture methods include the time required (days) for identification of microorganisms, and that many microbes involved in the genesis of human diseases are difficult to culture. A novel technique combines broad-range real-time polymerase chain reaction with electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) to identify and quantify genomic material from bacteria and viruses. AF samples obtained by transabdominal amniocentesis from 142 women with preterm labor and intact membranes (PTL) were analyzed using cultivation techniques (aerobic, anaerobic, and genital mycoplasmas) as well as PCR/ESI-MS. The prevalence and relative magnitude of intra-amniotic inflammation [AF interleukin 6 (IL-6) concentration ≥ 2.6 ng/mL], acute histologic chorioamnionitis, spontaneous preterm delivery, and perinatal mortality were examined. (i) The prevalence of MIAC in patients with PTL was 7% using standard cultivation techniques and 12% using PCR/ESI-MS; (ii) seven of ten patients with positive AF culture also had positive PCR/ESI-MS [≥17 genome equivalents per PCR reaction well (GE/well)]; (iii) patients with positive PCR/ESI-MS (≥17 GE/well) and negative AF cultures had significantly higher rates of intra-amniotic inflammation and acute histologic chorioamnionitis, a shorter interval to delivery [median (interquartile range-IQR)], and offspring at higher risk of perinatal mortality, than women with both tests negative [90% (9/10) versus 32% (39/122) OR: 5.6; 95% CI: 1.4-22; (P < 0.001); 70% (7/10) versus 35% (39/112); (P = 0.04); 1 (IQR: <1-2) days versus 25 (IQR: 5-51) days; (P = 0.002), respectively]; (iv) there were no significant differences in these outcomes between patients with positive PCR/ESI-MS (≥17 GE/well) who had negative AF cultures and those with positive AF cultures; and (v) PCR/ESI-MS detected genomic material from viruses in two patients (1.4%). (i) Rapid diagnosis of intra-amniotic infection is possible using PCR/ESI-MS; (ii) the combined use of biomarkers of inflammation and PCR/ESI-MS allows for the identification of specific bacteria and viruses in women with preterm labor and intra-amniotic infection; and (iii) this approach may allow for administration of timely and specific interventions to reduce morbidity attributed to infection-induced preterm birth.
    American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology 01/2014; · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Human pregnancy is characterized by activation of the innate immune response and suppression of adaptive immunity. The former is thought to provide protection against infection for the mother, and the latter, tolerance against paternal antigens expressed in fetal cells. Acute pyelonephritis is associated with an increased risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis in pregnant (vs. nonpregnant) women. The objective of this study was to describe the gene expression profile (transcriptome) of maternal whole blood in acute pyelonephritis. Method: A case-control study was conducted to include pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis (n=15) and women with a normal pregnancy (n=34). Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 arrays (Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA, USA) were used for gene expression profiling. A linear model was used to test the association between the presence of pyelonephritis and gene expression levels while controlling for white blood cell count and gestational age. A fold change of 1.5 was considered significant at a false discovery rate of 0.1. A subset of differentially expressed genes (n=56) was tested with real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) (cases, n=19; controls, n=59). Gene ontology and pathway analyses were applied. Results: A total of 983 genes were differentially expressed in acute pyelonephritis: 457 were upregulated and 526 were downregulated. Significant enrichment of 300 biological processes and 63 molecular functions was found in pyelonephritis. Significantly impacted pathways in pyelonephritis included (a) cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, (b) T-cell receptor signaling, (c) Jak-STAT signaling, and (d) complement and coagulation cascades. Of 56 genes tested by qRT-PCR, 48 (85.7%) had confirmation of differential expression. Conclusion: This is the first study of the transcriptomic signature of whole blood in pregnant women with acute pyelonephritis. Acute infection during pregnancy is associated with the increased expression of genes involved in innate immunity and the decreased expression of genes involved in lymphocyte function.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 01/2014; 42(1):31-53. · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: To determine if there is an association between cervical strain, evaluated using ultrasound elastography, and spontaneous preterm delivery (sPTD) <37 weeks of gestation. Methods: One hundred and eighty nine (189) women at 16-24 weeks of gestation were evaluated. Ultrasound elastography was used to estimate cervical strain in three anatomical planes: one mid-sagittal in the same plane used for cervical length measurement, and two cross sectional images: one at the level of the internal cervical os, and the other at the level of the external cervical os. In each plane, two regions of interest (endocervix and entire cervix) were examined; a total of six regions of interest were evaluated. Results: The prevalence of sPTD was 11% (21/189). Strain values from each of the six cervical regions correlated weakly with cervical length (from r=-0.24, P<0.001 to r=-0.03, P=0.69). Strain measurements obtained in a cross sectional view of the internal cervical os were significantly associated with sPTD. Women with strain values ≤25th centile in the endocervical canal (0.19) and in the entire cervix (0.14) were 80% less likely to have a sPTD than women with strain values >25th centile [endocervical: odds ratio (OR) 0.2; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.03-0.96; entire cervix: OR 0.17; 95% CI, 0.03-0.9]. Additional adjustment for gestational age, race, smoking status, parity, maternal age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, and previous preterm delivery did not appreciably alter the magnitude or statistical significance of these associations. Strain values obtained from the external cervical os and from the sagittal view were not associated with sPTD. Conclusion: Low strain values in the internal cervical os were associated with a significantly lower risk of spontaneous preterm delivery <37 weeks of gestation.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 12/2013; · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preterm birth is the leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide, and its prevention is an important healthcare priority. Preterm parturition is one of the 'great obstetrical syndromes' and is caused by multiple etiologies. One of the mechanisms of disease is the untimely decline in progesterone action, which can present as a clinically silent sonographic short cervix in the midtrimester. The detection of a short cervix in the midtrimester is a powerful risk factor for preterm delivery. Vaginal progesterone can reduce the rate of preterm delivery by 45% and the rate of neonatal morbidity (admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, respiratory distress syndrome, need for mechanical ventilation, etc.). To prevent one case of spontaneous preterm birth <33 weeks of gestation, 11 patients with a short cervix would need to be treated (based on an individual patient meta-analysis). Vaginal progesterone reduces the rate of spontaneous preterm birth in women with a short cervix, both with and without a prior history of preterm birth. In patients with a prior history of preterm birth, vaginal progesterone is as effective as cervical cerclage to prevent preterm delivery. 17α-Hydroxyprogesterone caproate has not been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of spontaneous preterm birth in women with a short cervix.
    Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 12/2013; · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: To identify differentially expressed long non-coding RNA genes in human myometrium in women in spontaneous labor at term. Materials and Methods: Myometrium was obtained from women undergoing cesarean deliveries who were not in labor (n=19) and women in spontaneous labor at term (n=20). RNA was extracted and profiled using an Illumina(®) microarray platform. We have used computational approaches to bound the extent of long non-coding RNA representation on this platform, and to identify co-differentially expressed and correlated pairs of long non-coding RNA genes and protein-coding genes sharing the same genomic loci. Results: We identified co-differential expression and correlation at two genomic loci that contain coding-lncRNA gene pairs: SOCS2-AK054607 and LMCD1-NR_024065 in women in spontaneous labor at term. This co-differential expression and correlation was validated by qRT-PCR, an independent experimental method. Intriguingly, one of the two lncRNA genes differentially expressed in term labor had a key genomic structure element, a splice site that lacked evolutionary conservation beyond primates. Conclusions: We provide for the first time evidence for coordinated differential expression and correlation of cis-encoded antisense lncRNAs and protein-coding genes with known, as well as novel roles in pregnancy in the myometrium of women in spontaneous labor at term.
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 10/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PurposeTo evaluate fetal cerebral venous blood oxygenation, Yv, using principles of MR susceptometry. Materials and MethodsA cohort of 19 pregnant subjects, with a mean gestational age of 31.6 ± 4.7 weeks were imaged using a modified susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequence. Data quality was first assessed for feasibility of oxygen saturation measurement, and data from five subjects (mean ± std gestational age of 33.7 ± 3.6 weeks) were then chosen for further quantitative analysis. SWI phase in the superior sagittal sinus was used to evaluate oxygen saturation using the principles of MR susceptometry. Systematic error in the measured Yv values was studied through simulations. ResultsSimulations showed that the systematic error in Yv depended upon the assumed angle of the vessel, θ, relative to the main magnetic field and the error in that vessel angle δθ. For the typical vessel angle of θ = 30° encountered in the fetal data analyzed, a δθ as large as ±20° led to an absolute error, δYv, of less than 11%. The measured mean oxygen saturation across the five fetuses was 66% ± 9.4%. This average cerebral venous blood oxygenation value is in close agreement with values in the published literature. Conclusion We have reported the first in vivo measurement of human fetal cerebral venous oxygen saturation using MRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging 10/2013; · 2.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) represents passage of fetal colonic content into the amniotic cavity. Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is complication that occurs in a subset of infants with MSAF. Secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) is detected in meconium and is implicated in the development of MAS. We measured sPLA2 in MSAF and clear fluid among women in spontaneous labor at term. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of patients in spontaneous term labor who underwent amniocentesis (n=101). The patients were divided into 2 study groups: 1) MSAF group (n= 61), and 2) clear fluid (n=40). The presence of bacteria and endotoxin as well as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and sPLA2 concentrations in the amniotic fluid were determined. Statistical analyses were performed to test for normality and bivariate analysis. Spearman correlation coefficient was used to study the relationship between sPLA2 and IL-6 concentrations in the amniotic fluid. Results: Patients with MSAF have a higher median sPLA2 concentration (ng/mL) in amniotic fluid than those with clear fluid [1.7 (0.98-2.89) vs. 0.3 (0-0.6), p<0.001]. Among patients with MSAF, those with either microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC, defined as presence of bacteria in the amniotic cavity), or bacterial endotoxin have a significantly higher median sPLA2 concentration (ng/mL) in amniotic fluid than those without MIAC or endotoxin [2.4 (1.7-6.0) vs. 1.7 (1.3-2.5), p<0.05]. There was a positive correlation between sPLA2 and IL-6 concentrations in the amniotic fluid (Spearman Rho=0.3, p<0.05). Conclusion: MSAF that contains bacteria or endotoxin has a higher concentration of sPLA2, and this may contribute to induce lung inflammation when meconium is aspirated before birth.
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 09/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mirror artifacts are produced by the reflection of ultrasound waves after they propagate through a structure and encounter a strong and smooth interface capable of acting as a mirror. Ultrasound waves bounce back and forth between the mirroring interface and the reflective object and then eventually return to the transducer. The typical display of the mirror artifact consists of two similar structures separated and at similar distances from the reflective interface. We report a mirror artifact in a patient with a singleton gestation at 18 weeks. The image was interpreted as consistent with a twin gestation using transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound. The differential diagnosis consisted of an abdominal heterotopic pregnancy. The presence of synchronized but opposite movements of both fetuses, and the blurred image of the second fetus, suggested a mirror artifact. The reflective surface was created by the interface located between a distended rectosigmoid filled with gas and the posterior uterine wall. Mirror artifacts can lead to diagnostic errors. This case illustrates how a distended rectosigmoid colon can generate an image that simulates either a twin gestation or an abdominal heterotopic pregnancy.
    Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy 09/2013; · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Intra-amniotic infection and inflammation are major mechanisms of disease responsible for spontaneous preterm labor and delivery. However, diagnosis of intra-amniotic infection is challenging because most infections are subclinical and amniotic fluid (AF) cultures take several days before results are available. Several tests have been proposed for the rapid diagnosis of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) or intra-amniotic inflammation. The aim of this study was to examine the diagnostic performance of the AF Mass Restricted (MR) score in comparison with interleukin-6 (IL-6) and matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) for the identification of MIAC or inflammation. Methods: AF samples were collected from patients with singleton gestations and symptoms of preterm labor (n=100). Intra-amniotic inflammation was defined as >100 white blood cells/mm(3) (WBCs) in AF; MIAC was defined as a positive AF culture. AF IL-6 and MMP-8 were determined using ELISA. The MR score was obtained using the Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption Ionization Time of Flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated and logistic regression models were fit to construct receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves for the identification of each outcome. The McNemar's test and paired sample non-parametric statistical techniques were used to test for differences in diagnostic performance metrics. Results: 1) The prevalence of MIAC and intra-amniotic inflammation was 34% (34/100) and 40% (40/100), respectively; 2) there were no significant differences in sensitivity of the three tests under study (MR score, IL-6 or MMP-8) in the identification of either MIAC or intra-amniotic inflammation (using the following cutoffs: MR score >2, IL-6 >11.4 ng/mL, and MMP-8 >23 ng/mL); 3) there was no significant difference in the sensitivity among the three tests for the same outcomes when the false positive rate was fixed at 15%; 4) the specificity for IL-6 was not significantly different from that of the MR score in identifying either MIAC or intra-amniotic inflammation when using previously reported thresholds; and 5) there were no significant differences in the area under the ROC curve when comparing the MR score, IL-6 or MMP-8 in the identification of these outcomes. Conclusions: IL-6 and the MR score have equivalent diagnostic performance in the identification of MIAC or intra-amniotic inflammation. Selection from among these three tests (MR score, IL-6 and MMP-8) for diagnostic purposes should be based on factors such as availability, reproducibility, and cost. The MR score requires a protein chip and a SELDI-TOF instrument which are not widely available. In contrast, immunoassays for IL-6 can be performed in the majority of clinical laboratories.
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 09/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) is a common occurrence among women in spontaneous labor at term, and has been associated with adverse outcomes in both mother and neonate. MSAF is a risk factor for microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) and preterm birth among women with preterm labor and intact membranes. We now report the frequency of MIAC and the presence of bacterial endotoxin in the amniotic fluid of patients with MSAF at term. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study involving women in presumed preterm labor because of uncertain dates who underwent amniocentesis, and who were later determined to be at term (n=108). The patients were allocated into 2 groups: 1) MSAF group (n=66), and 2) clear amniotic fluid (n=42). The presence of bacteria was determined by microbiologic techniques, and endotoxin was detected using the Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) gel clot assay. Statistical analyses were performed to test for normality and bivariate comparisons. Results: Bacteria were more frequently present in patients with MSAF compared to those with clear amniotic fluid [19.6% (13/66) vs. 4.7% (2/42)]. The microorganisms were Gram-negative rods (n=7), Ureaplasma urealyticum (n=4), Gram-positive rods (n=2), and Mycoplasma hominis (n=1). The LAL gel clot assay was positive in 46.9% (31/66) of patients with MSAF, and in 4.7% (2/42) in those with clear amniotic fluid (p<0.001). After heat treatment, the frequency of positive LAL gel clot assay remained higher in the MSAF group [18.1% (12/66) vs. 2.3% (1/42), p<0.05]. Median amniotic fluid IL-6 concentration (ng/mL) was higher in the MSAF group [1.3 (0.7-1.9) vs. 0.6 (0.3-1.2), p=0.04], and median amniotic fluid glucose concentration (mg/dL) was lower [6 (0-8.9) vs. 9 (7.4-12.6), p<0.001], than those with clear amniotic fluid. Conclusion: MSAF at term was associated with increased incidence of MIAC. The index of suspicion for an infection-related process in the post-partum woman and her neonate should be increased in the presence of MSAF. Keywords: amniotic fluid glucose, amniotic fluid white blood cell, fetal bowel function, fetal defecation, fetal diarrhea, interleukin-6, intrauterine inflammation/infection, Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL).
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 09/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal anti-fetal rejection is a mechanism of disease in spontaneous preterm labor. The objective of this study was to determine whether the presence of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) panel-reactive antibodies (PRA) during the second trimester increases the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery. This longitudinal case-control study included pregnant women with spontaneous preterm deliveries (n = 310) and control patients with normal term pregnancies (n = 620), matched for maternal age and gravidity. Maternal plasma samples obtained at 14-16, 16-20, 20-24, and 24-28 weeks of gestation were analyzed for HLA class I and class II PRA positivity using flow cytometry. The fetal HLA genotype and maternal HLA alloantibody epitope were determined for a subset of patients with positive HLA PRA. (i) Patients with spontaneous preterm delivery were more likely to exhibit HLA class I (adjusted OR = 2.54, P < 0.0001) and class II (adjusted OR = 1.98, P = 0.002) PRA positivity than those delivering at term; (ii) HLA class I PRA positivity for patients with spontaneous preterm delivery between 28 and 34 weeks (adjusted OR = 2.88; P = 0.001) and after 34 weeks of gestation (adjusted OR = 2.53; P < 0.0001) was higher than for those delivering at term; (iii) HLA class II PRA positivity for patients with spontaneous preterm delivery after 34 weeks of gestation was higher than for those delivering at term (adjusted OR = 2.04; P = 0.002); (iv) multiparous women were at a higher risk for HLA class I PRA positivity than nulliparous women (adjusted OR = 0.097, P < 0.0001 for nulliparity); (v) nulliparous women had a higher rate of HLA class I PRA positivity with advancing gestational age (P = 0.001); and (vi) 78% of women whose fetuses were genotyped had alloantibodies specific against fetal HLA class I antigens. Pregnant women with positive HLA class I or class II PRA during the second trimester are at an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery due to antibody-mediated maternal anti-fetal rejection.
    American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology 08/2013; 70(2):162-175. · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Massive perivillous fibrin deposition (MPFD) and maternal floor infarction (MFI) are related placental lesions often associated with fetal death and fetal growth restriction. A tendency to recur in subsequent pregnancies has been reported. This study was conducted to determine whether this complication of pregnancy could reflect maternal antifetal rejection. Pregnancies with MPFD were identified (n = 10). Controls consisted of women with uncomplicated pregnancies who delivered at term without MPFD (n = 175). Second-trimester maternal plasma was analyzed for panel-reactive anti-HLA class I and class II antibodies. The prevalence of chronic chorioamnionitis, villitis of unknown etiology, and plasma cell deciduitis was compared between cases and controls. Immunohistochemistry was performed on available umbilical vein segments from cases with MPFD (n = 4) to determine whether there was evidence of complement activation (C4d deposition). Specific maternal HLA-antibody and fetal HLA-antigen status were also determined in paired specimens (n = 6). Plasma CXCL-10 concentrations were measured in longitudinal samples of cases (n = 28 specimens) and controls (n = 749 specimens) by ELISA. Linear mixed-effects models were used to test for differences in plasma CXCL-10 concentration. (i) The prevalence of plasma cell deciduitis in the placenta was significantly higher in cases with MPFD than in those with uncomplicated term deliveries (40% versus 8.6%, P = 0.01), (ii) patients with MPFD had a significantly higher frequency of maternal anti-HLA class I positivity during the second trimester than those with uncomplicated term deliveries (80% versus 36%, P = 0.01); (iii) strongly positive C4d deposition was observed on umbilical vein endothelium in cases of MPFD, (iv) a specific maternal antibody against fetal HLA antigen class I or II was identified in all cases of MPFD; and 5) the mean maternal plasma concentration of CXCL-10 was higher in patients with evidence of MPFD than in those without evidence of MFPD (P < 0.001). A subset of patients with MPFD has evidence of maternal antifetal rejection.
    American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology 08/2013; · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human fetus is able to mount a systemic inflammatory response when exposed to microorganisms. This stereotypic response has been termed the 'fetal inflammatory response syndrome' (FIRS), defined as an elevation of fetal plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6). FIRS is frequently observed in patients whose preterm deliveries are associated with intra-amniotic infection, acute inflammatory lesions of the placenta, and a high rate of neonatal morbidity. Recently, a novel form of fetal systemic inflammation, characterized by an elevation of fetal plasma CXCL10, has been identified in patients with placental lesions consistent with 'maternal anti-fetal rejection'. These lesions include chronic chorioamnionitis, plasma cell deciduitis, and villitis of unknown etiology. In addition, positivity for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) panel-reactive antibodies (PRA) in maternal sera can also be used to increase the index of suspicion for maternal anti-fetal rejection. The purpose of this study was to determine (i) the frequency of pathologic lesions consistent with maternal anti-fetal rejection in term and spontaneous preterm births; (ii) the fetal serum concentration of CXCL10 in patients with and without evidence of maternal anti-fetal rejection; and (iii) the fetal blood transcriptome and proteome in cases with a fetal inflammatory response associated with maternal anti-fetal rejection. Maternal and fetal sera were obtained from normal term (n = 150) and spontaneous preterm births (n = 150). A fetal inflammatory response associated with maternal anti-fetal rejection was diagnosed when the patients met two or more of the following criteria: (i) presence of chronic placental inflammation; (ii) ≥80% of maternal HLA class I PRA positivity; and (iii) fetal serum CXCL10 concentration >75th percentile. Maternal HLA PRA was analyzed by flow cytometry. The concentrations of fetal CXCL10 and IL-6 were determined by ELISA. Transcriptome analysis was undertaken after the extraction of total RNA from white blood cells with a whole-genome DASL assay. Proteomic analysis of fetal serum was conducted by two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis. Differential gene expression was considered significant when there was a P < 0.01 and a fold-change >1.5. (i) The frequency of placental lesions consistent with maternal anti-fetal rejection was higher in patients with preterm deliveries than in those with term deliveries (56% versus 32%; P < 0.001); (ii) patients with spontaneous preterm births had a higher rate of maternal HLA PRA class I positivity than those who delivered at term (50% versus 32%; P = 0.002); (iii) fetuses born to mothers with positive maternal HLA PRA results had a higher median serum CXCL10 concentration than those with negative HLA PRA results (P < 0.001); (iv) the median serum CXCL10 concentration (but not IL-6) was higher in fetuses with placental lesions associated with maternal anti-fetal rejection than those without such lesions (P < 0.001); (v) a whole-genome DASL assay of fetal blood RNA demonstrated differential expression of 128 genes between fetuses with and without lesions associated with maternal anti-fetal rejection; and (vi) comparison of the fetal serum proteome demonstrated 20 proteins whose abundance differed between fetuses with and without lesions associated with maternal anti-fetal rejection. We describe a systemic inflammatory response in human fetuses born to mothers with evidence of maternal anti-fetal rejection. The transcriptome and proteome of this novel type of fetal inflammatory response were different from that of FIRS type I (which is associated with acute infection/inflammation).
    American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology 07/2013; · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: The molecular basis of failure to progress in labor is poorly understood. This study was undertaken to characterize the myometrial transcriptome of patients with an arrest of dilatation (AODIL). Study design: Human myometrium was prospectively collected from women in the following groups: (1) spontaneous term labor (TL; n=29) and (2) arrest of dilatation (AODIL; n=14). Gene expression was characterized using Illumina® HumanHT-12 microarrays. A moderated Student's t-test and false discovery rate adjustment were used for analysis. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of selected genes was performed in an independent sample set. Pathway analysis was performed on the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway database using Pathway Analysis with Down-weighting of Overlapping Genes (PADOG). The MetaCore knowledge base was also searched for pathway analysis. Results: (1) Forty-two differentially expressed genes were identified in women with an AODIL; (2) gene ontology analysis indicated enrichment of biological processes, which included regulation of angiogenesis, response to hypoxia, inflammatory response, and chemokine-mediated signaling pathway. Enriched molecular functions included transcription repressor activity, heat shock protein (Hsp) 90 binding, and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity; (3) MetaCore analysis identified immune response chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) signaling, muscle contraction regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity in endothelial cells, and triiodothyronine and thyroxine signaling as significantly overrepresented (false discovery rate <0.05); (4) qRT-PCR confirmed the overexpression of Nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3); hypoxic ischemic factor 1A (HIF1A); Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2); angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4); ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1, motif 9 (ADAMTS9); G protein-coupled receptor 4 (GPR4); metallothionein 1A (MT1A); MT2A; and selectin E (SELE) in an AODIL. Conclusion: The myometrium of women with AODIL has a stereotypic transcriptome profile. This disorder has been associated with a pattern of gene expression involved in muscle contraction, an inflammatory response, and hypoxia. This is the first comprehensive and unbiased examination of the molecular basis of an AODIL.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 07/2013; · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: α-klotho, a protein with anti-aging properties, has been involved in important biological processes, such as calcium/phosphate metabolism, resistance to oxidative stress, and nitric oxide production in the endothelium. Recent studies have suggested a role of α-klotho in endocrine regulation of mineral metabolism and postnatal growth in infants. Yet, the role of α-klotho during pregnancy remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether maternal plasma concentration of α-klotho change during pregnancy and evaluate its expression in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia with or without small for gestational age (SGA) neonate. Study design: This cross-sectional study included patients in the following groups: (1) non pregnant women (n = 37); (2) uncomplicated pregnancy (n = 130); (3) preeclampsia with an appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) neonate (PE; n = 58); (4) preeclampsia with an SGA neonate (PE and SGA; n = 52); and (5) SGA neonate without preeclampsia (SGA; n = 52). Plasma concentrations of α-klotho were determined by ELISA. Results: The median plasma α-klotho concentration was higher in pregnant than in non-pregnant women. Among women with an uncomplicated pregnancy, the median plasma concentration of α-klotho increases as a function of gestational age (Spearman Rho = 0.2; p = 0.006). The median (interquartile range) plasma concentration of α-klotho in women with PE and SGA [947.6 (762 - 2013) pg/mL] and SGA without [1000 (585-1567) pg/mL] were 21% and 17% lower than that observed in women with an uncomplicated pregnancy [1206.6 (894-2012) pg/mL], (p= 0.005 and p = 0.02), respectively. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the median plasma concentration of α-klotho between uncomplicated pregnancies and women with PE who deliver an AGA neonate. Conclusion: Maternal plasma concentrations of α-klotho are higher during pregnancy than in a non-pregnant state. Moreover, the median maternal plasma concentration of α-klotho was lower among mothers who deliver an SGA neonate regardless of the presence or absence of preeclampsia than in those with an uncomplicated pregnancy.
    The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians 07/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preeclampsia is characterized by maternal systemic anti-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory states. Syndecan-1 is a cell surface proteoglycan expressed by the syncytiotrophoblast, which plays an important role in angiogenesis and resolution of inflammation. Our aim was to examine placental syndecan-1 expression in preeclampsia with or without hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (HELLP) syndrome. Placentas were obtained from women in the following groups: (1) late-onset preeclampsia (n = 8); (2) early-onset preeclampsia without (n = 7) and (3) with HELLP syndrome (n = 8); (4) preterm controls (n = 5); and (5) term controls (n = 9). Tissue microarrays (TMAs) were constructed from paraffin-embedded placentas. TMA slides were immunostained for syndecan-1 and evaluated using microscopy, virtual microscopy, and semi-automated image analysis. Maternal sera from patients with preeclampsia (n = 49) and controls (n = 32) were immunoassayed for syndecan-1. BeWo cells were treated with Forskolin or Latrunculin B or kept in ischemic conditions. SDC1 expression and syndecan-1 production were investigated with qRT-PCR, confocal microscopy, and immunoassays. Syndecan-1 was localized to the syncytiotrophoblast apical membrane in normal placentas. Syndecan-1 immunoscores were higher in late-onset preeclampsia (p = 0.0001) and early-onset preeclampsia with or without HELLP syndrome (p = 0.02 for both) than in controls. Maternal serum syndecan-1 concentration was lower in preeclampsia (median, 673 ng/ml; interquartile range, 459-1,161 ng/ml) than in controls (1,158 ng/ml; 622-1,480 ng/ml). SDC1 expression and syndecan-1 immunostainings in BeWo cells and syndecan-1 concentrations in supernatants increased during cell differentiation. Disruption of the actin cytoskeleton with Latrunculin B decreased syndecan-1 release, while ischemic conditions increased it. Syncytiotrophoblastic syndecan-1 expression depends on the differentiation of villous trophoblasts, and trophoblastic syndecan-1 release is decreased in preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. This phenomenon may be related to the disturbed syncytiotrophoblastic cortical actin cytoskeleton and associated with maternal anti-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory states in these syndromes.
    Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin 06/2013; · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Preeclampsia (PE) can be sub-divided into early- and late-onset phenotypes. The pathogenesis of these two phenotypes has not been elucidated. To gain insight into the mechanisms of disease, the transcriptional profiles of whole blood from women with early- and late-onset PE were examined. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to include women with: i) early-onset PE (diagnosed prior to 34 weeks, n=25); ii) late-onset PE (after 34 weeks, n=47); and iii) uncomplicated pregnancy (n=61). Microarray analysis of mRNA expression in peripheral whole blood was undertaken using Affymetrix microarrays. Differential gene expression was evaluated using a moderated t-test (false discovery rate <0.1 and fold change >1.5), adjusting for maternal white blood cell count and gestational age. Validation by real-time qRT-PCR was performed in a larger sample size [early PE (n=31), late PE (n=72) and controls (n=99)] in all differentially expressed genes. Gene ontology analysis and pathway analysis were performed. Results: i) 43 and 28 genes were differentially expressed in early- and late-onset PE compared to the control group, respectively; ii) qRT-PCR confirmed the microarray results for early and late-onset PE in 77% (33/43) and 71% (20/28) of genes, respectively; iii) 20 genes that are involved in coagulation (SERPINI2), immune regulation (VSIG4, CD24), developmental process (H19) and inflammation (S100A10) were differentially expressed in early-onset PE alone. In contrast, only seven genes that encoded proteins involved in innate immunity (LTF, ELANE) and cell-to-cell recognition in the nervous system (CNTNAP3) were differentially expressed in late-onset PE alone. Thirteen genes that encode proteins involved in host defense (DEFA4, BPI, CTSG, LCN2), tight junctions in blood-brain barrier (EMP1) and liver regeneration (ECT2) were differentially expressed in both early- and late-onset PE. Conclusion: Early- and late-onset PE are characterized by a common signature in the transcriptional profile of whole blood. A small set of genes were differentially regulated in early- and late-onset PE. Future studies of the biological function, expression timetable and protein expression of these genes may provide insight into the pathophysiology of PE.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 06/2013; · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal plasma concentrations of soluble α-klotho are different between women with microbial invasion of the intra-amniotic cavity (MIAC) and those without MIAC among preterm labor and intact membranes (PTL) or preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (pPROM). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to include women in the following groups: i) PTL with MIAC (n=14); ii) PTL without MIAC (n=79); iii) pPROM with MIAC (n=30); and iv) pPROM without MIAC (n=33). MIAC was defined as a positive amniotic fluid culture for microorganisms (aerobic/anaerobic bacteria or genital mycoplasmas). Amniotic fluid samples were obtained within 48 h of maternal blood collection. Plasma concentration of soluble α-klotho was determined by ELISA. Results: i) The median plasma concentration (pg/mL) of soluble α-klotho was significantly lower in patients with MIAC than in those without MIAC (787.0 vs. 1117.8; P<0.001). ii) Among patients with PTL, those with MIAC had a lower median plasma concentration (pg/mL) of soluble α-klotho than those without MIAC (787.0 vs. 1138.9; P=0.007). iii) Among patients with pPROM, those with MIAC had a lower median plasma concentration (pg/mL) of soluble α-klotho than those without MIAC (766.4 vs. 1001.6; P=0.045). iv) There was no significant difference in the median plasma concentration of soluble α-klotho between PPROM without MIAC and PTL without MIAC (1001.6 pg/mL vs. 1138.9 pg/mL, respectively; P=0.5). v) After adjustment for potential confounders (maternal age, tobacco use, gestational age at venipuncture), soluble α-klotho remained significantly associated with MIAC (P=0.02); and vi) Among patients without MIAC, smoking was significantly associated with a lower median plasma concentration soluble α-klotho than in non-smokers (794.2 pg/mL vs. 1382.0 pg/mL, respectively; P<0.001); however, this difference was not observed in patients with MIAC. Conclusions: Intra-amniotic infection occurring at preterm gestations (regardless of membrane status) was associated with a decrease in maternal plasma concentrations of soluble α-klotho. Moreover, among patients without infection, the plasma concentration of α-klotho was lower in smokers.
    Journal of Perinatal Medicine 06/2013; · 1.95 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
700.60 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      • Division of Intramural Research (DIR)
      Maryland, United States
    • National Institutes of Health
      Maryland, United States
    • Emory University
      • Department of Anthropology
      Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 2003–2013
    • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      Maryland, United States
  • 1999–2013
    • Wayne State University
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Detroit, MI, United States
  • 2010
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Saint Louis, MO, United States
  • 2000–2010
    • Detroit Medical Center
      • Division of Pathology
      Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • 2009
    • Beaumont Health System
      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
      Detroit, Michigan, United States
    • William Beaumont Army Medical Center
      El Paso, Texas, United States