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1.  Preserved Ex Vivo Inflammatory Status in Decidual Cells from Women with Preterm Labor and Subclinical Intrauterine Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43605.
To compare the inflammatory response preserved ex vivo by decidual cells isolated from women who experienced preterm labor with and without subclinical intrauterine infection.
Fetal membranes were obtained after cesarean section from 35 women who delivered before 37 weeks of gestation following spontaneous preterm labor, with no clinical evidence of intrauterine infection. Decidua was microbiologically tested and cultured. Concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-10), pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β and TNF-α), and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9) were measured in the supernatants using Bio-Plex, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was measured by enzyme immunoassay.
Subclinical infection was confirmed in 10 women (28.5%). Microorganisms isolated were Ureaplasma urealyticum (4), group B streptococci (3), Gardnerella vaginalis (1), and Escherichia coli (2). We found a significant increase of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a significant decrease of anti-inflammatory cytokines in supernatants from decidual cells obtained from women with preterm labor and subclinical intrauterine infection compared to women without infection. Secretion of MMP-1, MMP-8, MMP-9 and PGE2 was significantly higher in infected women. Secretion of IL-8 by decidual cells from infected women persisted upon repeated in vitro culture passages.
Almost 30% of idiopathic preterm labor cases were associated with subclinical intrauterine infection, and decidual cells isolated from these cases preserved an ex vivo inflammatory status after in vivo bacterial exposure.
PMCID: PMC3425489  PMID: 22928002
2.  Interaction between Pathogenic Bacteria and Intrauterine Leukocytes Triggers Alternative Molecular Signaling Cascades Leading to Labor in Women▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(11):4792-4799.
Increased risk of preterm labor has been linked to cervicovaginal infection with Ureaplasma urealyticum and group B streptococci. Although various experimental models have been developed to study the role of amniochorion infection in preterm labor, they typically exclude the initial interaction between intrauterine leukocytes (recruited from decidual vessels into the avascular fetal membranes) and infecting bacteria. In this work, we ascertained whether inflammatory molecules secreted by bacterium-activated intrauterine leukocytes stimulate the amniochorion production of mediators involved in human labor. Using a two-step process beginning with placental circulating leukocytes as a proxy for intrauterine leukocytes, we found that coincubation of amniochorion explants with plasma from placental whole blood preincubated with group B streptococci resulted in a significant increase in tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) levels in tissue. Extensive changes in the connective tissue arrangement and a decrease in collagen content demonstrated the degradation of the extracellular matrix following this treatment. In contrast, plasma from blood preconditioned with U. urealyticum induced a highly significant secretion of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by the amniochorion without changes in the extracellular matrix organization or content. These data demonstrate that group B streptococci induce degradation of the amniochorion as a result of MMP-9 production, probably via TNF-α, whereas U. urealyticum stimulates the secretion of PGE2, probably via IL-1β, potentially stimulating myometrial contraction. Our study provides novel evidence that the immunological cells circulating within the uterine microenvironment respond differentially to an infectious agent, triggering alternative molecular signaling pathways leading to human labor.
PMCID: PMC2976360  PMID: 20805331
3.  Glycosylated VCAM-1 isoforms revealed in 2D western blots of HUVECs treated with tumoral soluble factors of breast cancer cells 
Several common aspects of endothelial phenotype, such as the expression of cell adhesion molecules, are shared between metastasis and inflammation. Here, we analyzed VCAM-1 variants as biological markers of these two types of endothelial cell activation. With the combination of 2-DE and western blot techniques and the aid of tunicamycin, we analyzed N-glycosylation variants of VCAM-1 in primary human endothelial cells stimulated with either TNF or tumoral soluble factors (TSF's) derived from the human breast cancer cell line ZR75.30.
Treatments induced a pro-adhesive endothelial phenotype. 2D western blots analysis of cells subjected to both treatments revealed the expression of the two known VCAM-1 isoforms and of previously unknown isoforms. In particular TSFZR75.30 induced an isoform with a relative molecular mass (Mr) and isoelectric point (pI) of 75-77 kDa and 5.0, respectively.
The unknown isoforms of VCAM-1 that were found to be overexpressed after treatment with TSF's compared with TNF, could serve as biomarkers to discriminate between inflammation and metastasis. 2D western blots revealed three new VCAM-1 isoforms expressed in primary human endothelial cells in response to TSF stimulation. Each of these isoforms varies in Mr and pI and could be the result of differential glycosylation states.
PMCID: PMC2787495  PMID: 19930605
4.  In vitro secretion profiles of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF alpha after selective infection with Escherichia coli in human fetal membranes 
Chorioamniotic membranes infection is a pathologic condition in which an abnormal secretion of proinflammatory cytokines halts fetal immune tolerance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the functional response of human chorioamniotic membranes, as well as the individual contribution of the amnion and choriodecidua after stimulation with Escherichia coli, a pathogen associated with preterm labor.
Explants of chorioamniotic membranes from 10 women (37–40 weeks of gestation) were mounted and cultured in a Transwell system, which allowed us to test the amnion and choriodecidua compartments independently. Escherichia coli (1 × 10 6 CFU/mL) was added to either the amniotic or the choriodecidual regions or both; after a 24-h incubation, the secretion of IL-1beta, IL-6, TNFalpha, IL-8, and IL-10 in both compartments was measured using a specific ELISA. Data were analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance.
After stimulation with Escherichia coli, the choriodecidua compartment showed an increase in the secretion of IL-1beta (21-fold), IL-6 (2-fold), IL-8 (6-fold), and IL-10 (37-fold), regardless of which side of the membrane was stimulated; TNFalpha secretion augmented (22-fold) also but only when the stimulus was applied simultaneously to both sides. When the amnion was stimulated directly, the level of IL-1beta (13-fold) rose significantly; however, the increase in IL-8 secretion was larger (20-fold), regardless of the primary site of infection. TNFalpha secretion in the amnion compartment rose markedly only when Escherichia coli was simultaneously applied to both sides.
Selective stimulation of fetal membranes with Escherichia coli results in a differential production of IL-1beta, IL-6, TNFalpha, IL-8, and IL-10. These tissues were less responsive when the amnion side was stimulated. This is in agreement with the hypothesis that the choriodecidua may play a primary role during an ascending intrauterine infection, being the main barrier to progression of the infection into the amniotic cavity. Therefore, the tissue-specific capacities for the secretion of these immune modulators could be a determining factor for the degree of severity of the inflammation process in fetal membranes.
PMCID: PMC2175507  PMID: 18078521

Results 1-4 (4)