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Low levels of anti-secretory factor in placenta are associated with preterm birth and inflammation

Journal article
Authors A. M. Gustafsson
E. Fransson
A. Dubicke
A. K. Hjelmstedt
G. Ekman-Ordeberg
S. A. Silfverdal
Stefan Lange
Eva Jennische
K. Bohlin
Published in Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Volume 97
Issue 3
Pages 349-356
ISSN 0001-6349
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 349-356
Language en
Keywords Anti-secretory factor, preterm birth, placenta, inflammation, vascularization, antisecretory factor, clinical-significance, hofbauer cells, chorioamnionitis, macrophages, pregnancy, epidemiology, definition, markers, plasma, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


IntroductionAnti-secretory factor is a protein that regulates secretory and inflammatory processes and preterm birth is associated with inflammation. Therefore, our hypothesis was that anti-secretory factor might play a role in immune reactivity and homeostasis during pregnancy. Material and methodsFollowing spontaneous onset of labor and preterm or term delivery, placenta biopsies were collected. The levels of anti-secretory factor and markers of inflammation (CD68, CD163) and vascularization (CD34, smooth muscle actin) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. ResultsThe 61 placental biopsies included 31 preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) and 30 term (37-41 weeks) samples. The preterm placentas exhibited lower levels of anti-secretory factor (p = 0.008) and larger numbers of CD68-positive cells (p < 0.001) compared to term. Preterm placentas had blood vessel of smaller diameter (p = 0.036) indicative of immaturity. The level of interleukin-6 in cord blood was higher after very preterm than term birth, suggesting a fetal inflammatory response. The placenta level of anti-secretory factor was positively correlated to the length of gestation (p = 0.025) and negatively correlated to the levels of the inflammatory markers CD68 (p = 0.015) and CD163 (p = 0.028). ConclusionsPreterm delivery is associated with low levels of anti-secretory factor in placenta. Inflammation, a potential trigger of preterm birth, is more pronounced in the preterm placenta and inversely related to the placental level of anti-secretory factor, suggesting both a link and a potential target for intervention.

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