Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Heightened inflammation susceptibility of the preterm fetus?

April 1, 2010

Preterm placenta may be more susceptible to maternal infection-induced placental cytokine response resulting in fetal inflammation, new research reveals.

The preterm placenta may be more susceptible to maternal infection-induced placental cytokine response resulting in fetal inflammation, reported researchers from UCLA Medical Center.

Julie Boles, MD, and colleagues used pregnant rats to determine that at day 16 of a 21-day term, placental explants exposed to 1 g/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 6 hours demonstrated a significant increase in IL-6 (5,072±624 vs 2,062±587 pg/mL/g tissue; P<.01), with a further increase after 12 hours (9,290±467 vs 2,313±268 pg/mL/g tissue; P<.01) compared with unexposed placentas.

In addition, the IL-6 cytokine response to 12-hour exposure to 1 g/mL LPS in 16-day placental explants was twice as high as that in 18-day placental explants.