Circulating cytokines and alarmins associated with placental inflammation in high-risk pregnancies

Sylvie Girard, Alexander E P Heazell, Hayley Derricott, Stuart M. Allan, Colin P. Sibley, Vikki M. Abrahams, Rebecca L. Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Problem: Inflammation during pregnancy has devastating consequences for the placenta and fetus. These events are incompletely understood, thereby hampering screening and treatment. Method of study: The inflammatory profile of villous tissue was studied in pregnancies at high-risk of placental dysfunction and compared to uncomplicated pregnancies. The systemic inflammatory profile was assessed in matched maternal serum samples in cases of reduced fetal movements (RFM). Results: Placentas from RFM pregnancies had a unique inflammatory profile characterized by increased interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist and decreased IL-10 expression, concomitant with increased numbers of placental macrophages. This aberrant cytokine profile was evident in maternal serum in RFM, as were increased levels of alarmins (uric acid, HMGB1, cell-free fetal DNA). Conclusion: This distinct inflammatory profile at the maternal-fetal interface, mirrored in maternal serum, could represent biomarkers of placental inflammation and could offer novel therapeutic options to protect the placenta and fetus from an adverse maternal environment. © 2014 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • High-risk pregnancy
    • Inflammation
    • Placental dysfunction
    • Stillbirth


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