Effects of cytokine-suppressive anti-inflammatory drugs on inflammatory activation in ex vivo human and ovine fetal membranes

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Intrauterine infection and inflammation are responsible for the majority of early (<32 weeks) spontaneous preterm births (PTBs). Anti-inflammatory agents, delivered intra-amniotically together with antibiotics, may be an effective strategy for preventing PTB. In this study, the effects of four cytokine-suppressive anti-inflammatory drugs (CSAIDs: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), SB239063, TPCA-1 and NEMO binding domain inhibitor (NBDI)) were assessed on human and ovine gestational membrane inflammation. Full-thickness membranes were collected from healthy, term, human placentas delivered by Caesarean section (n=5). Using a Transwell model, they were stimulated ex vivo with γ-irradiation-killed Escherichia coli applied to the amniotic face. Membranes from near-term, ovine placentas were stimulated in utero with lipopolysaccharide, Ureaplasma parvum or saline control and subjected to explant culture. The effects of treatment with CSAIDs or vehicle (1% DMSO) on accumulation of PGE2 and cytokines (human interleukin 6 (IL6), IL10 and TNFα; ovine IL8 (oIL8)) were assessed in conditioned media at various time points (3–20 h). In human membranes, the IKKβ inhibitor TPCA-1 (7 μM) and p38 MAPK inhibitor SB239063 (20 μM) administered to the amniotic compartment were the most effective in inhibiting accumulation of cytokines and PGE2 in the fetal compartment. NAC (10 mM) inhibited accumulation of PGE2 and IL10 only; NBDI (10 μM) had no significant effect. In addition to the fetal compartment, SB239063 also exerted consistent and significant inhibitory effects in the maternal compartment. TPCA-1 and SB239063 suppressed oIL8 production, while all CSAIDs tested suppressed ovine PGE2 production. These results support the further investigation of intra-amniotically delivered CSAIDs for the prevention of inflammation-mediated PTB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-320
Issue number3
Early online date3 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


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