Placental and intra-amniotic inflammation are associated with altered fetal immune responses at birth

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9 Citations (Scopus)


High-grade placental inflammation is associated with preterm birth and poor neonatal outcomes. Recent reports suggest that low-grade placental inflammation is common in uncomplicated pregnancies. The relationship between placental inflammation and innate immune anti-microbial responses is unknown. In this study we sought to identify any association between placental inflammation and fetal immune responses.
Cord blood samples collected from late preterm and full-term Caesarean section deliveries (n = 44) were exposed to various immune challenges (resiquimod, LPS, PGN, poly (I:C), cGAMP, and 5′ppp-dsRNA) and production of inflammatory mediators (G-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α) was measured by multiplex assay. Hospital histology reports were used to assess the extent of inflammation in the placenta.
Almost half (47.7%) of placentae examined here showed histological evidence of inflammation. Resiquimod, LPS, and PGN elicited strong inflammatory responses in neonatal cord blood, while poly (I:C), cGAMP, and 5′ppp-dsRNA elicited weaker responses. Fetuses with evidence of chorioamnionitis and fetal inflammatory reaction in their placentae had significantly increased immune responses to cGAMP and 5′ppp-dsRNA (ligands for STING and RIG-I, respectively) and significantly decreased immune responses to poly (I:C) (a TLR3 agonist). Interestingly, STING, RIG-I, and TLR3 are all involved in viral response pathways, suggesting that fetuses exposed to chorioamnionitis or fetal inflammatory reaction might respond differently to viruses postnatally.
Our data suggest that low-level placental inflammation is associated with altered innate cytokine responses at birth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019


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