The goal was to identify cytokines associated with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Based on our earlier reports of decreased tissue expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, we hypothesized that infants with NEC also have low blood TGF-β levels. We further hypothesized that because fetal inflammation increases the risk of NEC, infants who develop NEC have elevated blood cytokine levels in early neonatal period.
Data on 104 extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with NEC and 893 without NEC from 17 centers were analyzed. Clinical information was correlated with blood cytokine levels on postnatal day 1 (D1), D3, D7, D14, and D21.
Male gender, non-Caucasian/non-African-American ethnicity, sepsis, lower blood TGF-β and interleukin (IL)-2, and higher IL-8 levels were associated with NEC. The NEC group had lower TGF-β levels than controls since D1. The diagnosis of NEC was associated with elevated IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/CC-motif ligand (CCL)-2, macrophage inflammatory protein-1β/CCL3, and C-reactive protein.
Clinical characteristics, such as gender and ethnicity, and low blood TGF-β levels are associated with higher risk of NEC. Infants who developed NEC did not start with high blood levels of inflammatory cytokines, but these rose mainly after the onset of NEC.
To study the association between maternal C-reactive protein (CRP) and preterm delivery (PTD) pathways, CRP was measured in maternal plasma collected at mid-pregnancy (n = 1310). PTD was subdivided into spontaneous (sPTD) or medically indicated (MI-PTD). Histologic chorioamnionitis (HCA) was determined by placental histopathology (n = 1076). Adjusted CRP levels were elevated for sPTD (5.5 µg/mL) versus term deliveries (4.8 µg/mL) and higher in sPTD with HCA (6.3 µg/mL). After removing HCA, an interaction between body mass index (BMI) and sPTD in relation to CRP was noted. In BMI-stratified models, an association between CRP and sPTD among women with prepregnancy BMI >25 (8.9 µg/mL for sPTD; 7.2 µg/mL for term) was absent among women with lower BMI. We propose that this remaining association in overweight/obese women suggests that CRP may mark an obesity/inflammation PTD pathway that is distinct from the pathway indicated by HCA.
preterm birth; C-reactive protein; prepregnancy body mass index; placentas; chorioamnionitis
In adults and older children, evidence consistent with relative separation between selective and sustained attention, superimposed upon generally positive inter-test correlations, has been reported. Here we examine whether this pattern is detectable in 5-year-old children from the healthy population. A new test battery (TEA-ChJ) was adapted from measures previously used with adults and older children and administered to 172 5-year-olds. Test-retest reliability was assessed in 60 children. Ninety-eight percent of the children managed to complete all measures. Discrimination of visual and auditory stimuli were good. In a factor analysis, the two TEA-ChJ selective attention tasks (one visual, one auditory) loaded onto a common factor and diverged from the two sustained attention tasks (one auditory, one motor), which shared a common loading on the second factor. This pattern, which suggests that the tests are indeed sensitive to underlying attentional capacities, was supported by the relationships between the TEA-ChJ factors and Test of Everyday Attention for Children subtests in the older children in the sample. It is possible to gain convincing performance-based estimates of attention at the age of 5 with the results reflecting a similar factor structure to that obtained in older children and adults. The results are discussed in light of contemporary models of attention function. Given the potential advantages of early intervention for attention difficulties, the findings are of clinical as well as theoretical interest.
To determine in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants if elevated blood inteferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) are associated with need for shunt following severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or with ventricular dilation following milder grades /no IVH.
Whole blood cytokines were measured on postnatal days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. Maximum IVH grade in the first 28d, and shunt surgery or ventricular dilation on subsequent ultrasound (28d -36 w PMA) were determined.
Of 902 infants in the NICHD NRN Cytokine study who survived to 36w/discharge, 3.1% had shunts. Of the 12% of infants with severe (Gr III–IV) IVH, 26% had a shunt associated with elevated TNF-α. None of the infants without IVH (69%) or with Gr I (12%) or II (7%) IVH received shunts, but 8.4% developed ventricular dilation, associated with lower IFN-γ and higher IL-18.
Statistically significant but clinically non-discriminatory alterations in blood cytokines were noted in infants with severe IVH who received shunts and in those without severe IVH who developed ventricular dilation. Blood cytokines are likely associated with brain injury but may not be clinically useful as biomarkers for white matter damage.
Infant; premature; Cytokines; Hydrocephalus; Intraventricular hemorrhage; Intracranial hemorrhage
Permanent ductal closure involves anatomic remodeling, in which transforming growth factor (TGF)-β appears to play a role. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship, if any, between blood spot TGF-β on day 3 and day 7 of life and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Prospective observational study involving ELBW infants (n = 968) in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network who had TGF-β measured on filter paper spot blood samples using a Luminex assay. Infants with a PDA (n = 493) were significantly more immature, had lower birth weights, and had higher rates of respiratory distress syndrome than those without PDA (n = 475). TGF-β on days 3 and 7 of life, respectively, were significantly lower among neonates with PDA (median 1,177 pg/ml [range 642–1,896]; median 1,386 pg/ml [range 868–1,913]) compared with others without PDA (median 1,334 pg/ml [range 760–2,064]; median 1,712 pg/ml [range 1,014–2,518 pg/ml]). The significant difference persisted when death or PDA was considered a composite outcome. TGF-β levels were not significantly different among subgroups of infants with PDA who were not treated (n = 51) versus those who were treated medically (n = 283) or by surgical ligation (n = 159). TGF-β was not a significant predictor of death or PDA (day 3 odds ratio [OR] 0.99, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.83–1.17; day 7 OR 0.88, 95 % CI 0.74–1.04) on adjusted analyses. Our results suggest that blood spot TGF-β alone is unlikely to be a reliable biomarker of a clinically significant PDA or its responsiveness to treatment.
Transforming growth factor; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm; Neonate
Information on cytokine profiles in fungal sepsis (FS), an important cause of mortality in extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW), is lacking. We hypothesized that cytokine profiles in the 1st 21 days of life in ELBW with FS differ from those with bacterial sepsis (BS) or no sepsis (NS).
In a secondary analyses of the NICHD Cytokine study, three groups were defined - FS (≥1 episode of FS), BS (≥1 episode of BS without FS), and NS. Association between 11 cytokines assayed in dried blood spots obtained on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3 and sepsis group was explored.
Of 1066 infants, 89 had FS and 368 had BS. Compared to BS, FS was more likely to be associated with lower birthweight, vaginal delivery, patent ductus arteriosus, postnatal steroids, multiple central lines, longer respiratory support and hospital stay, and higher mortality (p<0.05). Analyses controlling for covariates showed significant group differences over time for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α (p<0.05).
Significant differences in profiles for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α in FS, BS or NS in this hypothesis-generating secondary study require validation in rigorously designed prospective studies and may have implications for diagnosis and treatment.
To determine if selected pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines/mediators of inflammation reported to be related to development of cerebral palsy predict neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely low birth weight infants.
Infants with birth weights ≤ 1000 g (n=1067) had blood samples collected at birth and on days 3±1, 7±1, 14±3, and 21±3 to examine the association between cytokines and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The analyses were focused on five cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α, RANTES, and IL-2) reported to be most predictive of CP in term and late preterm infants.
IL-8 was higher on days 0–4 and subsequently in infants who developed CP compared with infants who did not develop CP in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Other cytokines (IL-12, IL-17, TNF-β, SIL-rα, MIP-1β) were found to be altered on days 0–4 in infants who developed CP.
CP in former preterm infants may, in part, have a late perinatal and/or early neonatal inflammatory origin.
Cytokines mediate the host immune response to infectious microorganisms. The objective of this study was to determine whether immune regulatory interleukins (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6 and IL-10) and inflammatory cytokines (Interferon- [INF- ], tumor necrosis factor- [TNF- ], IL-2, and IL-17) are associated with an increased risk of developing blood stream bacterial/fungal infection (BSI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. ELBW infants from 17 NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers without early onset sepsis were studied. Cytokines were measured from blood on days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after birth. 996 ELBW infants contributed a minimum of 4080 unique measurements for each cytokine during the 5 sampling periods. Infants with BSI had lower levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-17 (P=0.01), and higher levels of the regulatory cytokines, IL-6 (P=0.01) and IL-10 (P<0.001). Higher levels of regulatory cytokines relative to pro-inflammatory cytokines were associated with increased risk of BSI even after adjusting for confounding variables. In ELBW infants, the ratio of immune regulatory cytokines to inflammatory cytokines was associated with development of BSI. Altered maturation of regulatory and inflammatory cytokines may increase the risk of serious infection in this population.
Children born after in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) have been reported to have a higher risk of cerebral palsy (CP), perhaps due to the higher frequency of preterm birth, multiple births or vanishing embryo in the pregnancies. However, it has been suggested that the underlying infertility may be part of the pathway. In this study, we examined whether untreated subfecundity (measured by time to pregnancy) or infertility treatment was associated with an increased risk of CP in the offspring.
Using the Danish National Birth Cohort (1997–2003), we compared children born after 0–2 months of waiting time to pregnancy (n = 35 848) with those born after a time to pregnancy of 3–5 months (n = 15 361), 6–12 months (n = 11 528) and >12 months (n = 7387), as well as those born after IVF/ICSI (n = 3617), ovulation induction with or without intrauterine insemination (n = 3000), and unplanned pregnancies (n = 13 462). CP cases were identified through the Danish CP Register.
In total, 165 (0.18%) children were diagnosed with CP in the entire cohort. We found no significant association between time to pregnancy and the risk of CP in children conceived spontaneously. Children born after IVF/ICSI had an increased risk of CP, even after adjustment for preterm birth and multiplicity (hazard ratio 2.30, 95% confidence interval 1.12–4.73).
Subfecundity per se did not appear to be associated with the risk of CP in children, whereas being born after IVF/ICSI conferred an increased risk.
cerebral palsy; infertility; infertility treatment; time to pregnancy; Danish National Birth Cohort
Fetal and neonatal inflammation is associated with several morbidities of prematurity. Its relationship to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has not been investigated. Our objective was to determine the relationship between cytokine levels and ROP in the first three postnatal weeks. Data for this study were derived from the NICHD Cytokine Study. Dried blood spots were obtained from infants <1000g on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3. Infants were classified into three groups – No, Mild, and Severe ROP. Multiplex Luminex assay was used to quantify 20 cytokines. Temporal profiles of cytokines were evaluated using mixed effects models after controlling for covariates. Of 1074 infants enrolled, 890 were examined for ROP and 877 included in the analysis. ROP was associated with several clinical characteristics on unadjusted analyses. Eight cytokines remained significantly different across ROP groups in adjusted analyses. IL-6 and IL-17 showed significant effects in early time periods (D0-3); TGF-β, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) in later time periods (D7-21) and IL-18, C-reactive protein (CRP) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) in both early and later time periods. We conclude that perinatal inflammation may be involved in the pathogenesis of ROP.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and chemokines appear to be induced by hyperoxia in preclinical studies. We hypothesized that O2 exposure immediately after birth is associated with altered blood spot MMP 9 and β chemokine concentrations. The following analytes were measured on blood spots on days 1 and 3 of life, using luminex technology in 1059 infants (birth weights < 1000 grams) in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network: MMP 9, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP 1), macrophage inflammatory proteins (MIP 1α and β), and Regulated upon Activation, Normal T-cell Expressed and Secreted (RANTES). Infants administered O2 continually from 6 to 24 hours of life (n=729), when compared to those with < 6 hours exposure (n=330), had significantly lower mean birth weight and higher rate of respiratory distress syndrome (p≤ 0.002). On day 3, MCP 1 was higher and RANTES lower among infants with early prolonged O2 exposure. After adjusting for covariates, prolonged early O2 exposure retained a statistically significant association with higher MCP 1 on day 3 (p=0.003). The consistent association between O2 exposure and MCP 1 among extremely preterm infants suggests that further investigation of its role in oxidative injury is warranted.
Inflammation mediated by cytokines may be important in the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and the competing outcome of death in extremely low birth weight infants.
To develop multi-variable logistic regression models for the outcome of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or death at 36w post-menstrual age using clinical and cytokine data from the first 28 days.
1067 extremely low birth weight infants in the Neonatal Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development had 25 cytokines measured from blood collected within 4 h of birth and on days 3, 7, 14, and 21. Stepwise regression using peak values of the 25 cytokines and 15 clinical variables identified variables associated with BPD/death. Multi-variable logistic regression was done for bronchopulmonary dysplasia/death using variables selected by stepwise regression. Similar analyses were also done using average cytokine values from days 0–21, days 0–3, and from days 14–21.
Of 1062 infants with available data, 606 infants developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia or died. Combining results from all models, bronchopulmonary dysplasia/death was associated with higher concentrations of interleukins-1β, -6, -8, -10, and interferon-γ and lower concentrations of interleukin-17, RANTES, and tumor necrosis factor-β. Compared to models with only clinical variables, addition of cytokine data improved predictive ability by a statistically significant but clinically modest magnitude.
The overall pattern of cytokines suggests bronchopulmonary dysplasia/death may be associated with impairment in the transition from the innate immune response mediated by neutrophils to the adaptive immune response mediated by T-lymphocytes.
Logistic models; Infant; premature; Predictive value of tests
Some spontaneous preterm deliveries (PTD) are caused by occult infections of the fetal membranes (histologic chorioamnionitis [HCA]). High levels of infection-related markers, including some cytokines, sampled from maternal circulation in mid-pregnancy have been linked to PTD, but whether these specifically identify HCA has not been established. We have tested associations between thirteen Th1, Th2 and Th17 cytokines and PTD with and without HCA in a prospective cohort study. The study sample included 926 Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health Study subcohort women; women with medically indicated PTD or incomplete data excluded. A panel of cytokines was assessed using a multiplex assay in maternal plasma collected at 15–27 weeks of gestation. Severe HCA was scored by a placental pathologist blinded to clinical variables. Multivariable polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) per 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in cytokine levels using a 5 level outcome variable: PTD <35 weeks with HCA, PTD <35 weeks without HCA, PTD 35–36 weeks with HCA, PTD 35–36 weeks without HCA, and term (referent). Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-12, interferon-γ, IL-4, IL-6 and transforming growth factor-β were all significantly associated with PTD <35 weeks with HCA, with ORs of 1.6 – 2.3 per SD increase. None of these were associated with PTD <35 weeks without HCA or PTD 35–36 weeks with HCA. Although the tissues of origin of circulating cytokines are unclear, the observed elevations across many cytokines among women who later delivered <35 weeks with HCA may represent a robust immune response to infection within gestational tissues. These results suggest that women with HCA could be identified using relatively non-invasive means.
pregnancy; cytokines; histologic chorioamnionitis; premature birth; inflammation
Identification of disease susceptible genes requires access to DNA from numerous well-characterised subjects. Archived residual dried blood spot samples from national newborn screening programs may provide DNA from entire populations and medical registries the corresponding clinical information. The amount of DNA available in these samples is however rarely sufficient for reliable genome-wide scans, and whole-genome amplification may thus be necessary. This study assess the quality of DNA obtained from different amplification protocols by evaluating fidelity and robustness of the genotyping of 610,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms, using the Illumina Infinium HD Human610-Quad BeadChip. Whole-genome amplified DNA from 24 neonatal dried blood spot samples stored between 15 to 25 years was tested, and high-quality genomic DNA from 8 of the same individuals was used as reference.
Using 3.2 mm disks from dried blood spot samples the optimal DNA-extraction and amplification protocol resulted in call-rates between 99.15% – 99.73% (mean 99.56%, N = 16), and conflicts with reference DNA in only three per 10,000 genotype calls.
Whole-genome amplified DNA from archived neonatal dried blood spot samples can be used for reliable genome-wide scans and is a cost-efficient alternative to collecting new samples.
Serum Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in the Prediction of Preterm Delivery.
Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a soluble mediator that helps govern the interaction between cytokines and stress hormones (e.g. cortisol). We determined if maternal MIF levels predicted subsequent preterm delivery (PTD).
A nested case-control study measuring serum MIF concentration at 9–23 weeks gestation in women who ultimately delivered preterm (n=60) compared to control women who delivered at term (n=122). We also examined the connection of MIF with self-reported psychosocial variables.
MIF was elevated in the PTD cases (p=0.0004), and log MIF concentration showed a graded response relationship with likelihood of PTD. High MIF was also associated with maternal risk-taking behavior, which itself was a risk factor for PTD. MIF remained associated independently with PTD after adjusting regression models for several other PTD risk factors (OR, 3.11, 95% CI 1.54–6.30).
High serum MIF concentration in early to mid- pregnancy is linked with subsequent preterm delivery.
Cytokine; Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor; Pregnancy; Preterm Birth; Cortisol
To study pathophysiologic pathways in spontaneous preterm birth and possibly the racial disparity associating with maternal and fetal genetic variations, using bioinformatics tools.
A large scale candidate gene association study was performed on 1442 SNPs in 130 genes in a case (preterm birth < 36 weeks) control study (term birth > 37 weeks). Both maternal and fetal DNA from Caucasians (172 cases and 198 controls) and 279 African-Americans (82 cases and 197 controls) were used. A single locus association (genotypic) analysis followed by hierarchical clustering was performed, where clustering was based on p values for significant associations within each race. Using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software, known pathophysiologic pathways in both races were determined.
From all SNPs entered into the analysis, the IPA mapped genes to specific disease functions. Gene variants in Caucasians were implicated in disease functions shared with other known disorders; specifically, dermatopathy, inflammation, and hematological disorders. This may reflect abnormal cervical ripening and decidual hemorrhage. In African-Americans inflammatory pathways were the most prevalent. In Caucasians, maternal gene variants showed the most prominent role in disease functions, whereas in African Americans it was fetal variants. The IPA software was used to generate molecular interaction maps that differed between races and also between maternal and fetal genetic variants.
Differences at the genetic level revealed distinct disease functions and operational pathways in African Americans and Caucasians in spontaneous preterm birth. Differences in maternal and fetal contributions in pregnancy outcome are also different between African Americans and Caucasians. These results present a set of explicit testable hypotheses regarding genetic associations with preterm birth in African Americans and Caucasians
Spontaneous preterm birth (<37 weeks gestation—PTB) occurs in ∼12% of pregnancies in the United States, and is the largest contributor to neonatal morbidity and mortality. PTB is a complex disease, potentially induced by several etiologic factors from multiple pathophysiologic pathways. To dissect the genetic risk factors of PTB a large-scale high-throughput candidate gene association study was performed examining 1536 SNP in 130 candidate genes from hypothesized PTB pathways. Maternal and fetal DNA from 370 US Caucasian birth-events (172 cases and 198 controls) was examined. Single locus, haplotype, and multi-locus association analyses were performed separately on maternal and fetal data. For maternal data the strongest associations were found in genes in the complement-coagulation pathway related to decidual hemorrhage in PTB. In this pathway 3 of 6 genes examined had SNPs significantly associated with PTB. These include factor V (FV) that was previously associated with PTB, factor VII (FVII), and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The single strongest effect was observed in tPA marker rs879293 with a significant allelic (p = 2.30×10−3) and genotypic association (p = 2.0×10−6) with PTB. The odds ratio (OR) for this SNP was 2.80 [CI 1.77–4.44] for a recessive model. Given that 6 of 8 markers in tPA were statistically significant, sliding window haplotype analyses were performed and revealed an associating 4 marker haplotype in tPA (p = 6.00×10−3). The single strongest effect in fetal DNA was observed in the inflammatory pathway at rs17121510 in the interleukin-10 receptor antagonist (IL-10RA) gene for allele (p = 0.01) and genotype (p = 3.34×10−4). The OR for the IL-10RA genotypic additive model was 1.92 [CI 1.15–3.19] (p = 2.00×10−3). Finally, exploratory multi-locus analyses in the complement and coagulation pathway were performed and revealed a potentially significant interaction between a marker in FV (rs2187952) and FVII (rs3211719) (p<0.001). These results support a role for genes in both the coagulation and inflammation pathways, and potentially different maternal and fetal genetic risks for PTB.
Objectives: the aim was to examine factors associated
with acquisition and elimination of bacterial vaginosis in
pregnancy. Methods: a group of 229 pregnant women were
randomly selected from a population-based prospective cohort study
of 2927. They were examined at enrollment (mean gestational weeks
16w + 0d)
and again in mid-third trimester (mean gestational age
32w + 3d). Measures: BV (Amsel's clinical criteria),
microbiological cultures of the genital tract and questionnaire
data. Results: BV prevalence decreased from 17% in early
second trimester to 14% in mid-third trimester due to a tenfold
higher elimination rate (39%) than incidence rate (4%). Heavy
smokers (> 10/d) in early pregnancy were at increased risk (5.3 [1.1–25]) for the acquisition of BV during pregnancy, as
were women receiving public benefits (4.8 [1.0–22]),
having a vaginal pH above 4.5 (6.3 [1.4–29]) or
vaginal anaerobe bacteria (18 [2.7–122]) at enrollment.
A previous use of combined oral contraceptives was preventive for
the acquisition of BV (0.2 [0.03–0.96]). Elimination of
BV in pregnancy tended to be associated with a heavy growth of
Lactobacillus (3.2 [0.8–13]) at enrollment.
Conclusions: acquisition of BV during pregnancy is rare
and is associated with smoking, while the presence of anaerobe
bacteria and a vaginal pH > 4.5 are interpreted as steps on a
gradual change towards BV. In the same way heavy growth of
Lactobacillus spp in early pregnancy may be an indicator
of women on the way to eliminate BV.
A nested case-control study of low birth weight and preterm delivery was performed with singleton women. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) against the Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin (anti-Gvh IgA) and sialidase and prolidase activities were determined in vaginal fluid at 17 weeks of gestation. Sialidase positivity and bacterial vaginosis with high prolidase activity were associated with 2- and 11-fold increased risks for low birth weight, respectively. No woman with bacterial vaginosis plus a strong anti-Gvh IgA response had an adverse outcome.