Background:Preventing preterm birth and subsequent adverse neonatal sequelae is among the greatest clinical challenges of our time. Recent studies suggest a role for Candida spp. in preterm birth and fetal injury, as a result of their colonization of either the vagina and/or the amniotic cavity. We hypothesized that intraamniotic Candida albicans would cause a vigorous, acute fetal inflammatory response.Methods:Sheep carrying singleton pregnancies received single intraamniotic injections of either saline (control) or 10 7 colony-forming units C. albicans 1 or 2 d prior to surgical delivery and euthanasia at 124 ± 2 d gestation.Results:Colonization of the amniotic cavity by C. albicans resulted in a modest inflammatory response at 1 d and florid inflammation at 2 d, characterized by fetal thrombocytopenia, lymphopenia, and significant increases of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in the fetal membranes skin, lung, and the amniotic fluid.Conclusion:Acute colonization of the amniotic cavity by C. albicans causes severe intrauterine inflammation and fetal injury. C. albicans is a potent fetal pathogen that can contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Copyright © 2014 International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.