The co-presence of histoincompatible fetal and maternal cells is a characteristic of human placental inflammation. Villitis of unknown etiology (VUE), a destructive inflammatory lesion of villous placenta, is characterized by participation of Hofbauer cells (placental macrophages) and maternal T cells. In contrast to acute chorioamnionitis of infection-related origin, the fundamental immunopathology of VUE is unknown. This study was performed to investigate the placental transcriptome of VUE and to determine whether VUE is associated with systemic maternal and/or fetal inflammatory response(s). Comparison of the transcriptome between term placentas without and with VUE revealed differential expression of 206 genes associated with pathways related to immune response. The mRNA expression of a subset of chemokines and their receptors (CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, CXCL13, CCL4, CCL5, CXCR3, CCR5) was higher in VUE placentas than in normal placentas (p < 0.05). Analysis of blood cell mRNA showed a higher expression of CXCL9 and CXCL13 in the mother, and CXCL11 and CXCL13 in the fetus of VUE cases (p < 0.05). The median concentrations of CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 in maternal and fetal plasma were higher in VUE (p < 0.05). Comparison of preterm cases without and with acute chorioamnionitis revealed elevated CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11, and CXCL13 concentrations in fetal plasma (p < 0.05), but not in maternal plasma with chorioamnionitis. We report for the first time the placental transcriptome of VUE. A systemic derangement of CXC chemokines in maternal and fetal circulation distinguishes VUE from acute chorioamnionitis. We propose that VUE be a unique state combining maternal allograft rejection and maternal antifetal graft-vs-host disease mechanisms.
human; inflammation; chemokines; graft versus host disease; transplantation
Preterm birth is a major cause of perinatal mortality and long-term morbidity. Chorioamnionitis is a common cause of preterm birth. Clinical chorioamnionitis, characterised by maternal fever, leukocytosis, tachycardia, uterine tenderness, and preterm rupture of membranes, is less common than subclinical/histologic chorioamnionitis, which is asymptomatic and defined by inflammation of the chorion, amnion, and placenta. Chorioamnionitis is often associated with a fetal inflammatory response. The fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS) is defined by increased systemic inflammatory cytokine concentrations, funisitis, and fetal vasculitis. Clinical and epidemiological studies have demonstrated that FIRS leads to poor cardiorespiratory, neurological, and renal outcomes. These observations are further supported by experimental studies that have improved our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for these outcomes. This paper outlines clinical and experimental studies that have improved our current understanding of the mechanisms responsible for chorioamnionitis-induced preterm birth and explores the cellular and physiological mechanisms underlying poor cardiorespiratory, neural, retinal, and renal outcomes observed in preterm infants exposed to chorioamnionitis.
Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) elicits a fetal inflammatory response such as funisitis and chorionic vasculitis. However, little is known about the changes of fetal skin during MIAC. Toll-like receptors recognize microbial products and initiate an immune response. The aims of this study were to examine histopathological features of fetal skin exposed to MIAC and to assess the changes in Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 and TLR-4 expression.
Methods and results
Skin samples were obtained from fetal autopsies (n = 12). The cases were classified according to the presence (n = 8) or absence (n = 4) of acute chorioamnionitis and analysed by immunohistochemistry using a panel of antibodies. Leucocytic infiltrates into the superficial dermis were observed in cases with chorioamnionitis; the majority of inflammatory cells were neutrophils, lymphocytes and histiocytes. TLR-2 immunoreactivity in the skin was stronger in fetuses with chorioamnionitis than in those without this condition. However, immunoreactivity of TLR-4 in the fetal skin was constitutively expressed, regardless of the presence or absence of chorioamnionitis.
This study demonstrates for the first time that fetal dermatitis can be detected and is part of the fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS). We propose that this ‘FIRS-associated fetal dermatitis’ is a fetal counterpart of chorioamnionitis.
chorioamnionitis; dermatitis; fetal dermatitis; fetal inflammatory response syndrome; fetal skin; keratinocytes; Toll-like receptors
A 40-year-old woman, gravida 9, with seven healthy children and a history of one abortion (p 7 + 1), presented at 18 weeks of gestation with fever and malodorous vaginal discharge. Ultrasound revealed a macerated fetus. The placenta showed acute chorioamnionitis and acute villitis with microabscess formation. Blood and vaginal cultures both grew Klebsiella pneumoniae. This is the first reported case in English literature of Klebsiella pneumoniae causing suppurative placentitis leading to fetal demise.
Acute chorioamnionitis of infectious origin and chronic chorioamnionitis of immunologic origin are two major placental lesions of spontaneous preterm birth with elevated amniotic fluid interleukin-6 and CXCL10 concentrations, respectively. The changes in the amniotic fluid proteome associated with intra-amniotic infection and acute chorioamnionitis are well-defined, yet alterations unique to chronic chorioamnionitis remain to be elucidated. This study was conducted to determine those amniotic fluid proteins changing specifically in the presence of chronic chorioamnionitis. Amniotic fluid obtained from acute chorioamnionitis, chronic chorioamnionitis, and gestational age-matched controls were analyzed by 2-dimensional difference in gel electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF analyses. The type of histologic inflammation was used to define each condition in preterm labor cases (n=125) and term not in labor cases (n=22); and the amniotic fluid concentrations of interleukin-6, CXCL8, CXCL10, and prostaglandin F2α were also measured by specific immunoassays. Among preterm labor cases, thirty-one differentially expressed proteins were identified in chronic chorioamnionitis cases, as compared to both acute chorioamnionitis and control cases. Importantly, glycodelin-A, which maintains maternal tolerance against an allogeneic fetus, was decreased in chronic chorioamnionitis, while haptoglobin was increased. We report the amniotic fluid proteome of chronic chorioamnionitis for the first time, and the findings herein strongly suggest that there is a pathophysiological association between the changes of immunomodulatory proteins in the amniotic fluid and chronic chorioamnionitis, a histologic manifestation of maternal anti-fetal allograft rejection.
amniotic fluid; proteome; chronic chorioamnionitis; preterm birth
Acute chorioamnionitis is a response to amniotic fluid (AF) infection. However, it remains unclear whether substantial bacterial propagation in the chorioamniotic membranes (CAMs) precedes microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC), which is inconsistent with characteristic “amniotropic neutrophil migration” in acute chorioamnionitis. This study was performed to determine whether CAMs have widespread bacterial infection during MIAC and whether bacteria normally colonize CAMs. AF pellets and CAMs from the following groups were studied: group 1, patients with positive (n=18) or negative (n=22) AF cultures; group 2, patients with or without acute chorioamnionitis in which the amnion and chorion were studied separately (n=60); and group 3, patients at term who underwent a cesarean delivery (n=30). SYTO 9/propidium iodide fluorescent staining and fluorescent in situ hybridization for 16S rRNA were performed. Real-time quantitative PCR for 16S rDNA and PCR for genital mycoplasmas were also conducted. Bacteria were more frequently detected in AF than in CAMs of patients with positive AF culture (100 vs 33%; P<0.0001). Bacteria were detected more frequently in CAMs as the severity of chorioamnionitis increased (P<0.01). The median 16S rRNA gene copy number in the amnion was significantly greater than in the chorion (group 2; P<0.0001). Bacteria were not detected in CAMs or AF in women at term before labor (group 3). A fraction of patients with chorioamnionitis or MIAC did not have bacteria in CAMs. Collectively, the findings herein indicate that MIAC does not follow widespread infection of CAMs, but precedes it. We propose a model of MIAC: the initial stage is intra-amniotic bacterial invasion through a discrete region of the CAMs, followed by intra-amniotic proliferation, and bacterial invasion of CAMs primarily extends from the amniotic fluid. This study emphasizes the importance of assessing the intra-amniotic compartment for diagnosis and treatment of preterm birth.
16S rRNA; amniotic fluid; chorioamnionitis; fluorescent in situ hybridization; intra-amniotic infection; polymerase chain reaction
Increasing evidence suggests an association between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Although infection is considered as a risk factor for preterm delivery, the localization of oral bacteria or their antigens in chorioamnionitis placental tissue has never been demonstrated. This study was devised to test the hypothesis that periodontal pathogens may be present and affect human placenta in cases of chorioamnionitis. Using immunocytochemistry, we have identified the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis antigens in placental tissues. The antigens were detected in the placental syncytio-trophoblasts, chorionic trophoblasts, decidual cells, and amniotic epithelial cells, as well as the vascular cells. There was a substantial increase in immunostaining intensity of the tissues sectioned from women with chorioamnionitis compared to those experiencing normal-term pregnancy, p < 0.019 (Mann-Whitney test). These results suggest that P. gingivalis may commonly colonize placental tissue, and that the presence of the organism may contribute to preterm delivery.
P. gingivalis; placenta; preterm; chorioamnionitis; periodontitis
To identify potentially modifiable risk factors of placental injury reflecting maternal uteroplacental vascular compromise (UPVC) and acute and chronic placental inflammation.
A prospective epidemiologic study was conducted. A total of 1270 placentas were characterized by gross and microscopic examination. Placental pathology was coded for features of amniotic fluid infection syndrome (AFIS), chronic villitis, UPVC, and fetal vascular obstructive lesions. Odds ratios between UPVC, the acute and the chronic inflammatory lesions, and risk factors of interest were calculated.
After adjusting for confounders, women with a history of preterm birth had 1.60 times the odds of chronic inflammation (95% CI: 1.10, 2.55). Women with a previous elective termination had 3.28 times the odds of acute inflammation (95% CI: 1.89, 5.70). The odds of chronic villitis increased with parity, while the odds of AFIS decreased with parity.
We have identified several predictors of UPVC, AFIS and chronic villitis. Further studies are needed to examine whether interventions to alter UPVC, AFIS and chronic villitis will lead to improved pregnancy outcomes.
inflammation; pathology; placenta; preterm
Group B streptococci (GBS) have been cultured from the chorioamnionic membrane of pregnant women, usually in association with chorioamnionitis and premature labor (K. A. Boggess, D. H. Watts, S. L. Hillier, M. A. Krohn, T. J. Benedetti, and D. A. Eschenbach, Obstet. Gynecol. 87:779–784, 1996). Colonization and infection of placental membranes can be a prelude to neonatal GBS infections even in the presence of intact membranes (R. L. Naeye and E. C. Peters, Pediatrics 61:171–177, 1978), suggesting that GBS cause chorioamnionitis or establish amniotic fluid infections by partial or complete penetration of the placental membranes. We have isolated and grown cultures of primary chorion and amnion cells from human cesarean-section placentas. This has provided a biologically relevant model for investigating GBS adherence to and invasion of the two epithelial barriers of the placental membrane. GBS adhered to chorion cell monolayers to a high degree. Pretreatment of GBS with trypsin reduced adherence up to 10-fold, which suggested that the bacterial ligand(s) was a protein. GBS invaded chorion cells at a high rate in vitro, and invasion was dependent on cellular actin polymerization. GBS could be seen within intracellular vacuoles of chorion cells by transmission electron microscopy. We also demonstrated that GBS were capable of transcytosing through intact chorion cell monolayers without disruption of intracellular junctions. GBS also adhered to amnion cells; in contrast, however, these bacteria failed to invade amnion cells under a variety of assay conditions. GBS interactions with the chorion epithelial cell layer shown here correlate well with epidemiological and pathological studies of GBS chorioamnionitis. Our data also suggest that the amnion cell layer may provide an effective barrier against infection of the amniotic fluid.
The aim of the study was to determine whether immunoreactivity to major histo-compatibility complex (MHC) class II antigens studied by immunohisto-chemistry could be used reliably to define villitis lesions in placenta. Eighteen placental sections with villitis and 32 without, as determined in a careful observer reproducibility study, were immunolabelled with a monoclonal antibody to monomorphic determinants of MHC class II antigens (CR3/43), using a standard avidin-biotin peroxidase technique. Placentas with villitis were found to express MHC class II antigens. However, some showed no immunoreactivity. Occasional villi unaffected by villitis, including those near placental infarcts, also expressed MHC class II antigens. The study therefore showed that immunohistochemistry cannot be used to define villitis of unknown aetiology. It provides further evidence of the difficulties that can arise when immunohistochemistry conflicts with previous light microscopy findings.
Inflammation is associated with preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) and adverse neonatal outcomes. Subchorionic thrombi, with or without inflammation, may also be a significant pathological finding in PPROM. Patterns of inflammation and thrombosis may give insight into mechanisms of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with PPROM. To characterize histologic findings of placentas from pregnancies complicated by PPROM at altitude, 44 placentas were evaluated for gross and histological indicators of inflammation and thrombosis. Student’s t-test (or Mann–Whitney U-test), χ2 analysis (or Fisher’s exact test), mean square contingency and logistic regression were used when appropriate. The prevalence of histologic acute chorioamnionitis (HCA) was 59%. Fetal-derived inflammation (funisitis and chorionic plate vasculitis) was seen at lower frequency (30% and 45%, respectively) and not always in association with HCA. There was a trend for Hispanic women to have higher odds of funisitis (OR = 5.9; P = 0.05). Subchorionic thrombi were seen in 34% of all placentas. The odds of subchorionic thrombi without HCA was 6.3 times greater that the odds of subchorionic thrombi with HCA (P = 0.02). There was no difference in gestational age or rupture-to-delivery interval, with the presence or absence of inflammatory or thrombotic lesions. These findings suggest that PPROM is caused by or can result in fetal inflammation, placental malperfusion, or both, independent of gestational age or rupture-to-delivery interval; maternal ethnicity and altitude may contribute to these findings. Future studies focused on this constellation of PPROM placental findings, genetic polymorphisms and neonatal outcomes are needed.
altitude; chorioamnionitis; fetal inflammatory response; funisitis; subchorionic thrombi
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection of the developing fetus can result in adverse pregnancy outcomes including death in utero. Fetal injury results from direct viral cytopathic damage to the CMV-infected fetus, although evidence suggests CMV placental infection may indirectly cause injury to the fetus, possibly via immune dysregulation with placental dysfunction. This study investigated the effects of CMV infection on expression of the chemokine MCP-1 (CCL2) and cytokine TNF-α in placentae from naturally infected stillborn babies, and compared these changes with those found in placental villous explant histocultures acutely infected with CMV ex vivo. Tissue cytokine protein levels were assessed using quantitative immunohistochemistry. CMV-infected placentae from stillborn babies had significantly elevated MCP-1 and TNF-α levels compared with uninfected placentae (p = 0.001 and p = 0.007), which was not observed in placentae infected with other microorganisms (p = 0.62 and p = 0.71) (n = 7 per group). Modelling acute clinical infection using ex vivo placental explant histocultures showed infection with CMV laboratory strain AD169 (0.2 pfu/ml) caused significantly elevated expression of MCP-1 and TNF-α compared with uninfected explants (p = 0.0003 and p<0.0001) (n = 25 per group). Explant infection with wild-type Merlin at a tenfold lower multiplicity of infection (0.02 pfu/ml), caused a significant positive correlation between increased explant infection and upregulation of MCP-1 and TNF-α expression (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.017). Cytokine dysregulation has been associated with adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and can negatively affect placental development and function. These novel findings demonstrate CMV infection modulates the placental immune environment in vivo and in a multicellular ex vivo model, suggesting CMV-induced cytokine modulation as a potential initiator and/or exacerbator of placental and fetal injury.
Objective. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent of placental lesions associated with blood pressure (BP) levels in pregnancies complicated by hypertension. Methods. 55 singleton pregnancies complicated by mild hypertension were recruited and compared to 55 pregnancies complicated by severe hypertension. The histological assessment was carried out with regard to the following aspects: vessels number/field of vision, infarction, villous fibrinoid necrosis, villous hypermaturity, avascular villi, calcifications, lymphohistiocytic villitis, and thickened vessels. Statistical analysis was performed by SPSS. Results. All placental lesions were observed more often in the severe hypertension group. Vessels number was significantly decreased, and infarction and villous fibrinoid necrosis were significantly increased in the placentas of the severe hypertension group compared to the mild hypertension group (P < 0.001). Conclusion. This study supports that the extent of placental lesions in hypertensive pregnancies is correlated with hypertension level and so highlights blood pressure level as a mirror of placental function.
Hofbauer cells (HBCs) are placental macrophages that are present in the villus across gestation. Despite their identification more than 100 years ago, their specific role in placental function remains largely unelucidated. We initially review aspects of their history and biology as well as evidence for putative sites of origin. To gain insight into their potential function, we then describe complications of pregnancy including villitis of unknown etiology (VUE) and histological chorioamnionitis (HCA), in which alterations in numbers, gene expression, or other characteristics of HBCs have been documented to occur. We further review methods for isolation of HBCs and in vitro studies that explore their role in relation to other major cell types in the placenta and examine their actions in cytokine-mediated inflammation. We conclude that HBCs play a key role in placental pathophysiology, and future advances in their isolation and culture would enable mechanistic insight into their villus function.
placenta; Hofbauer cells; fetal macrophages; preterm delivery; villitis of unknown etiology; chorioamnionitis
To examine the frequency and risk factors of funisitis and histologic chorioamnionitis in the placentas of term pregnant women who delivered after the spontaneous onset of labor.
The frequency of funisitis and histologic chorioamnionitis was examined in consecutive pregnant women at term with singleton pregnancies who delivered after the spontaneous onset of labor. Nonparametric statistics were used for data analysis.
1) The frequency of funisitis and histologic chorioamnionitis was 6.7% (88/1316) and 23.6% (310/1316), respectively; 2) Patients with funisitis had significantly higher rates of nulliparity, regional analgesia, operative vaginal delivery, longer duration of labor and rupture of membranes (ROM), and higher gestational age and birthweight than those without funisitis (p<0.05 for each); 3) Patients with histologic chorioamnionitis had significantly higher rates of nulliparity, oxytocin augmentation, regional analgesia, cesarean section or operative vaginal delivery, longer duration of labor and ROM, and higher gestational age and birthweight than those without histologic chorioamnionitis (p<0.05 for each); 4) Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the longer duration of labor, the higher the risk of funisitis, and that nulliparity and longer duration of labor significantly increased the odds of histologic chorioamnionitis (p<0.05 for each).
The longer the duration of labor, the higher the risk of funisitis and histologic chorioamnionitis in pregnant women at term who delivered after the spontaneous onset of labor.
infection; inflammation; nulliparity; duration of labor; prolonged labor; rupture of membranes; pregnancy
AIMS: To show the presence of HIV infected cells in the placentas and membranes exposed to HIV during pregnancy, and to trace the possible transmission routes from mother to fetus. METHODS: Twenty three therapeutic abortions and 11 term placentas were investigated for the presence of HIV antigen by immunostaining with HIV core protein specific antibodies and HIV nucleic acids by in situ hydridisation (ISH) with a 35S-labelled HIV specific RNA probe. RESULTS: HIV antigen as well as HIV RNA positive cells were rarely found in placental tissue and membranes. In therapeutic abortions HIV antigen was shown in 10 out of 23 placentas, HIV RNA in two. HIV antigen was detected in five out of 11 term placentas and HIV RNA in two. Infected cell types comprised syncytiotrophoblasts, Hofbauer cells, amnionic epithelium, chorionic macrophages as well as maternal lymphocytes in the intervillous space and decidua. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the transmission routes are: (1) a haematogenous route from the maternal intervillous space to villous stromal cells; (2) from chorion laeve to amnionic fluid and vice versa. Two additional transmission routes are partly suggested by the data: (1) in early gestation by direct extension from basal decidua to budding trophoblastic cells; (2) from the capsular decidua to chorion laeve and chorionic plate, entering the fetal circulation via the small veins.
The association between cerebral palsy in very preterm infants and clinical, histopathologic and microbiological indicators of chorioamnionitis, including the identification of specific micro-organisms in the placenta, was evaluated in a case-cohort study.
Children with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy at five years of age were identified from amongst participants in a long-term follow-up program of preterm infants. The comparison group was a subcohort of infants randomly selected from all infants enrolled in the program. The placentas were examined histopathologically for chorioamnionitis and funisitis, and the chorioamnionic interface was aseptically swabbed and comprehensively cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, yeast and genital mycoplasmas. Associations between obstetric and demographic variables, indicators of chorioamnionitis and cerebral palsy status were examined by univariate analysis.
Eighty-two infants with cerebral palsy were compared with the subcohort of 207 infants. Threatened preterm labor was nearly twice as common among the cases as in the subcohort (p < 0.01). Recorded clinical choroamnionitis was similar in the two groups and there was no difference in histopathologic evidence of infection between the two groups. E. coli was cultured from the placenta in 6/30 (20%) of cases as compared with 4/85 (5%) of subcohort (p = 0.01). Group B Streptococcus was more frequent among the cases, but the difference was not statistically significant.
The association between E. coli in the chorioamnion and cerebral palsy in preterm infants identified in this study requires confirmation in larger multicenter studies which include microbiological study of placentas.
cerebral palsy; placenta; chorioamnionitis; Escherichia coli
Our objective was to determine signaling molecules and apoptosis rate in the term placenta of a baboon model of maternal nutrient reduction (MNR).
Female baboons were fed ad libitum for controls (CTR; n=7) or 70% of CTR diet (MNR; n=6) from 30 to 165 days of gestation (dG) with necropsy at 165 dG. Placental tissues were collected, fixed for immunohistochemistry or snap frozen to measure ERK, AKT, JNK, XIAP and caspase 3. Placental villous apoptosis was determined by TUNEL and cytokeratin 18 cleavage.
Compared to CTR, MNR placentas demonstrated: reduced placental weight (p<0.02), decreased p-ERK (p<0.04), increase placental villous apoptosis (p<0.001), increased villous cytokeratin 18 cleavage, increased XIAP protein (p<0.007) and increased active caspase 3 (p<0.02).
We conclude that placental apoptosis is increased in this baboon model of MNR at term and that the increase in XIAP may be a protective mechanism against this apoptosis.
Apoptosis; XIAP; Caspase 3; placenta; MNR
The placenta is a key component in understanding the physiological processes involved in pregnancy. Characterizing genes critical for placental function can serve as a basis for identifying mechanisms underlying both normal and pathologic pregnancies. Detailing the placental tissue transcriptome could provide a valuable resource for genomic studies related to placental disease.
We have conducted a deep RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) study on three tissue components (amnion, chorion, and decidua) of 5 human placentas from normal term pregnancies. We compared the placental RNA-Seq data to that of 16 other human tissues and observed a wide spectrum of transcriptome differences both between placenta and other human tissues and between distinct compartments of the placenta. Exon-level analysis of the RNA-Seq data revealed a large number of exons with differential splicing activities between placenta and other tissues, and 79% (27 out of 34) of the events selected for RT-PCR test were validated. The master splicing regulator ESRP1 is expressed at a proportionately higher level in amnion compared to all other analyzed human tissues, and there is a significant enrichment of ESRP1-regulated exons with tissue-specific splicing activities in amnion. This suggests an important role of alternative splicing in regulating gene function and activity in specific placental compartments. Importantly, genes with differential expression or splicing in the placenta are significantly enriched for genes implicated in placental abnormalities and preterm birth. In addition, we identified 604-1007 novel transcripts and 494-585 novel exons expressed in each of the three placental compartments.
Our data demonstrate unique aspects of gene expression and splicing in placental tissues that provide a basis for disease investigation related to disruption of these mechanisms. These data are publicly available providing the community with a rich resource for placental physiology and disease-related studies.
Placenta; Amnion; Chorion; Decidua; RNA-Seq; Transcriptome; Alternative splicing; Functional interaction network; Novel transcriptional active region
The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether placental mesenchymal stromal cells (PDMSCs) derived from normal and preeclamptic (PE) chorionic villous tissue presented differences in their cytokines expression profiles. Moreover, we investigated the effects of conditioned media from normal and PE-PDMSCs on the expression of pro-inflammatory Macrophage migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and free β-human Chorionic Gonadotropin (βhCG) by normal term villous explants. This information will help to understand whether anomalies in PE-PDMSCs could cause or contribute to the anomalies typical of preeclampsia.
Chorionic villous PDMSCs were isolated from severe preeclamptic (n = 12) and physiological control term (n = 12) placentae. Control and PE-PDMSCs’s cytokines expression profiles were determined by Cytokine Array. Control and PE-PDMSCs were plated for 72 h and conditioned media (CM) was collected. Physiological villous explants (n = 48) were treated with control or PE-PDMSCs CM for 72 h and processed for mRNA and protein isolation. MIF, VEGF and sFlt-1 mRNA and protein expression were analyzed by Real Time PCR and Western Blot respectively. Free βhCG was assessed by immunofluorescent.
Cytokine array showed increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines by PE relative to control PDMSCs. Physiological explants treated with PE-PDMSCs CM showed significantly increased MIF and sFlt-1 expression relative to untreated and control PDMSCs CM explants. Interestingly, both control and PE-PDMSCs media induced VEGF mRNA increase while only normal PDMSCs media promoted VEGF protein accumulation. PE-PDMSCs CM explants released significantly increased amounts of free βhCG relative to normal PDMSCs CM ones.
Herein, we reported elevated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by PE-PDMSCs. Importantly, PE PDMSCs induced a PE-like phenotype in physiological villous explants. Our data clearly depict chorionic mesenchymal stromal cells as central players in placental physiopathology, thus opening to new intriguing perspectives for the treatment of human placental-related disorders as preeclampsia.
Maternal perception of reduced fetal movement (RFM) is associated with increased risk of stillbirth and fetal growth restriction (FGR). DFM is thought to represent fetal compensation to conserve energy due to insufficient oxygen and nutrient transfer resulting from placental insufficiency. To date there have been no studies of placental structure in cases of DFM.
To determine whether maternal perception of reduced fetal movements (RFM) is associated with abnormalities in placental structure and function.
Placentas were collected from women with RFM after 28 weeks gestation if delivery occurred within 1 week. Women with normal movements served as a control group. Placentas were weighed and photographs taken. Microscopic structure was evaluated by immunohistochemical staining and image analysis. System A amino acid transporter activity was measured as a marker of placental function.
Placentas from all pregnancies with RFM (irrespective of outcome) had greater area with signs of infarction (3.5% vs. 0.6%; p<0.01), a higher density of syncytial knots (p<0.001) and greater proliferation index (p<0.01). Villous vascularity (p<0.001), trophoblast area (p<0.01) and system A activity (p<0.01) were decreased in placentas from RFM compared to controls irrespective of outcome of pregnancy.
This study provides evidence of abnormal placental morphology and function in women with RFM and supports the proposition of a causal association between placental insufficiency and RFM. This suggests that women presenting with RFM require further investigation to identify those with placental insufficiency.
AIMS: To evaluate the relation between Chlamydia trachomatis infection and stillbirth, placental tissue was studied for the presence of C trachomatis. METHODS: Paraffin wax embedded placental tissue of a stillbirth fetus, born at the 36th week of gestation to a 21 year old mother with high serum antibody titres to C trachomatis immunotypes during pregnancy and who was culture positive to C trachomatis three years previously, was studied by in situ hybridisation, polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry for the presence of C trachomatis. RESULTS: C trachomatis was detected in placental specimens by in situ hybridisation and alkaline phosphatase antialkaline phosphatase staining in several sections, whereas control tissues were uniformly negative, indicating the presence of C trachomatis nucleic acid and antigen in the placenta. CONCLUSION: This is the first reported case in which C trachomatis has been demonstrated in the human placenta.
We assess the effect on placental efficiency of the non-centrality of the umbilical cord insertion and on chorionic vascular distribution to determine if cord centrality measurably affects placental function as reflected in birth weight.
Materials and Methods:
1,225 placentas collected from a prospective cohort had digital photographs of the chorionic plate. Of these, 1023 were term, 44 had velamentous cord insertion and 12 had missing clinical data, leaving N=967 (94.5 %) cases for analysis. Mathematical tools included a dynamical stochastic growth model of placental vasculature, Fourier analysis of radial parameterization of placental perimeters, and relative chorionic vascular density (a measure of “gaps” in the vascular coverage) derived from manual tracings of the fetal chorionic surface images. Bivariate correlations used Pearson's or Spearman's rank correlation as appropriate, with p<0.05 considered significant.
The correlation of the standard deviation of the placental radius (a measure of non-roundness of the placenta) with cord displacement was negligible (r=0.01). Empirical simulations of the vascular growth model with cord displacement showed no deviation from a normal round-to-oval placental shape for cord displacement of 10 – 50% of placental radius. The correlation of the metabolic scaling exponent β with cord displacement measured by Fourier analysis is 0.17 (p < 0.001). Analysis of the chorionic vascular density in traced images shows a high correlation of the relative vascular distance with cord displacement: 0.59 in one set of 12 images, and 0.20 in the other set of 28 images.
Non-central cord insertion has little measurable correlation with placental shape in observed or simulated placentas. However, placentas with a displaced cord show a markedly reduced transport efficiency, reflected in a larger value of β and hence in a smaller birth weight for a given placental weight. Placentas with a non-central cord insertion have a sparser chorionic vascular distribution, as measured by the relative vascular distance. Even if typically a placenta with a non-central insertion is of a normal round shape, its vasculature is less metabolically effective. These findings demonstrate another method by which altered placental structure may affect the fetal environment, influencing birth weight and potentially contributing to later health risks.
Chronic histiocytic intervillositis of the placenta (CHI) is a rare and potentially recurrent disease. Characteristically it shows accumulation of CD68+ cells in the intervillous space but no destructive tissue infiltration. An immunopathological background is likely but it is unknown what attracts circulating monocytes to the placenta. Methods: We analysed the expression profile of 102 inflammation- and angiogenesis-associated genes with real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 16 placentas: CHI (n = 5) and, as controls, villitis of unknown aetiology (VUE, n = 4) and normal placenta (n = 7). Results: Compared to controls, CHI had significantly higher levels of matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9) and transforming growth factor, beta receptor 1 (TGFBR1). MMP14 was lower in VUE than CHI (p < 0.05) and controls (not significant). Chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 9 (CXCL9), CXCL12, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5) and TIMP metallopeptidase inhibitor 1 (TIMP1) were significantly higher in VUE versus controls but not deregulated in CHI. The expression profile could not clearly discriminate CHI from VUE or controls but a tendency for grouping of massive CHI was found. Angiogenesis-associated factors were not deregulated in CHI. Conclusion: The discrepancy of massive histiocytic accumulation and the lack of striking up-regulation of cytokines might be the basis of the non-destructive behaviour of the histiocytes in CHI.
Cytokine; chemokine; histiocyte; monocyte; placenta pathology; chronic histiocytic intervillositis; massive perivillous histiocytosis
Chronic chorioamnionitis is found in more than one-third of spontaneous preterm births. Chronic chorioamnionitis and villitis of unknown etiology represent maternal anti-fetal cellular rejection. Antibody-mediated rejection is another type of transplantation rejection. We investigated whether there was evidence for antibody-mediated rejection against the fetus in spontaneous preterm birth.
Methods and Findings
This cross-sectional study included women with (1) normal pregnancy and term delivery (n = 140) and (2) spontaneous preterm delivery (n = 140). We analyzed maternal and fetal sera for panel-reactive anti-HLA class I and class II antibodies, and determined C4d deposition on umbilical vein endothelium by immunohistochemistry. Maternal anti-HLA class I seropositivity in spontaneous preterm births was higher than in normal term births (48.6% vs. 32.1%, p = 0.005). Chronic chorioamnionitis was associated with a higher maternal anti-HLA class I seropositivity (p<0.01), significant in preterm and term birth. Villitis of unknown etiology was associated with increased maternal and fetal anti-HLA class I and II seropositivity (p<0.05, for each). Fetal anti-HLA seropositivity was closely related to maternal anti-HLA seropositivity in both groups (p<0.01, for each). C4d deposition on umbilical vein endothelium was more frequent in preterm labor than term labor (77.1% vs. 11.4%, p<0.001). Logistic regression analysis revealed that chronic chorioamnionitis (OR = 6.10, 95% CI 1.29–28.83), maternal anti-HLA class I seropositivity (OR = 5.90, 95% CI 1.60–21.83), and C4d deposition on umbilical vein endothelium (OR = 36.19, 95% CI 11.42–114.66) were associated with preterm labor and delivery.
A major subset of spontaneous preterm births has a signature of maternal anti-fetal cellular and antibody-mediated rejections with links to fetal graft-versus-host disease and alloimmune reactions.