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1.  Porphyromonas Gingivalis and E-coli Induce Different Cytokine Production Patterns in Pregnant Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86355.
Objective
Pregnant individuals of many species, including humans, are more sensitive to various bacteria or their products as compared with non-pregnant individuals. Pregnant individuals also respond differently to different bacteria or their products. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated whether the increased sensitivity of pregnant women to bacterial products and their heterogeneous response to different bacteria was associated with differences in whole blood cytokine production upon stimulation with bacteria or their products.
Methods
Blood samples were taken from healthy pregnant and age-matched non-pregnant women and ex vivo stimulated with bacteria or LPS from Porphyromonas Gingivalis (Pg) or E-coli for 24 hrs. TNFα, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-12 and IL-10 were measured using a multiplex Luminex system.
Results
We observed a generally lower cytokine production after stimulation with Pg bacteria or it’s LPS as compared with E-coli bacteria. However, there was also an effect of pregnancy upon cytokine production: in pregnant women the production of IL-6 upon Pg stimulation was decreased as compared with non-pregnant women. After stimulation with E-coli, the production of IL-12 and TNFα was decreased in pregnant women as compared with non-pregnant women.
Conclusion
Our results showed that cytokine production upon bacterial stimulation of whole blood differed between pregnant and non-pregnant women, showing that the increased sensitivity of pregnant women may be due to differences in cytokine production. Moreover, pregnancy also affected whole blood cytokine production upon Pg or E-coli stimulation differently. Thus, the different responses of pregnant women to different bacteria or their products may result from variations in cytokine production.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086355
PMCID: PMC3899230  PMID: 24466049
3.  Cardiovascular risk estimation in women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorders at term: a longitudinal follow-up study 
Background
Cardiovascular disease is associated with major morbidity and mortality in women in the Western world. Prediction of an individual cardiovascular disease risk in young women is difficult. It is known that women with hypertensive pregnancy complications have an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease in later life and pregnancy might be used as a cardiovascular stress test to identify women who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. In this study we assess the possibility of long term cardiovascular risk prediction in women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorders at term.
Methods
In a longitudinal follow-up study, between June 2008 and November 2010, 300 women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorders at term (HTP cohort) and 94 women with a history of normotensive pregnancies at term (NTP cohort) were included. From the cardiovascular risk status that was known two years after index pregnancy we calculated individual (extrapolated) 10-and 30-year cardiovascular event risks using four different risk prediction models including the Framingham risk score, the SCORE score and the Reynolds risk score. Continuous data were analyzed using the Student’s T test and Mann–Whitney U test and categorical data by the Chi-squared test. A poisson regression analysis was performed to calculate the incidence risk ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals for the different cardiovascular risk estimation categories.
Results
After a mean follow-up of 2.5 years, HTP women had significantly higher mean (SD) extrapolated 10-year cardiovascular event risks (HTP 7.2% (3.7); NTP 4.4% (1.9) (p<.001, IRR 5.8, 95% CI 1.9 to 19)) and 30-year cardiovascular event risks (HTP 11% (7.6); NTP 7.3% (3.5) (p<.001, IRR 2.7, 95% CI 1.6 to 4.5)) as compared to NTP women calculated by the Framingham risk scores. The SCORE score and the Reynolds risk score showed similar significant results.
Conclusions
Women with a history of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia at term have higher predicted (extrapolated) 10-year and 30-year cardiovascular event risks as compared to women with a history of uncomplicated pregnancies. Further large prospective studies have to evaluate whether hypertensive pregnancy disorders have to be included as an independent variable in cardiovascular risk prediction models for women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-126
PMCID: PMC3680191  PMID: 23734952
Cardiovascular risk; Cardiovascular risk prediction; Follow-up study; Gestational hypertension; Preeclampsia
4.  Induction of labour with a Foley catheter or oral misoprostol at term: the PROBAAT-II study, a multicentre randomised controlled trial 
Background
Induction of labour is a common obstetric procedure. At present, different methods are used for induction of labour in women with an unfavourable cervix. Recently, we showed that in term women with an unfavorable cervix the use of a Foley catheter in comparison with vaginal Prostaglandin E2 gel, results in a comparable vaginal delivery rate. A meta-analysis on the subject indicated lower rates of hyperstimulation, and probably as a sequel fewer cases of postpartum haemorrhage. Misoprostol (PgE1) is another type of prostaglandin frequently used for labour induction, recommended by the international federation of gynaecology and obstetrics (FIGO). Misoprostol can be administered by vaginal, rectal and oral route. There is evidence that oral administration results in less asphyxia and hyperstimulation than vaginal administration. At present, valid comparisons between oral misoprostol and Foley catheter are lacking. Therefore, we propose a randomised controlled trial comparing Foley catheter to oral misoprostol in order to assess safety and cost-effectiveness.
Methods/Design
We plan a multicentre, randomised, controlled, open-label clinical trial among term pregnant women with a vital singleton in cephalic presentation, unfavorable cervix, intact membranes and an indication for induction of labour. After informed consent, women will be randomly allocated by a webbased randomisation system to transcervical Foley catheter or oral misoprostol (50 mcg every 4 hours). The primary outcome will be a composite of complications of uterine hyperstimulation, i.e. post partum haemorrhage and asphyxia. Secondary outcomes are mode of delivery, maternal and neonatal morbidity, costs and women’s preference. Serious adverse events such as severe maternal or neonatal morbitity or mortality will be monitored and reported to an independent data safety monitory board. With a sample size of 1860 women we will be able to demonstrate a 5% non-inferiority of the Foley catheter as compared to misoprostol for the composite outcome.
Discussion
Worldwide, various methods are being used for labour induction. Results of the proposed trial will contribute to the answer which method of induction of labour is most safe, cost-effective, and patient friendly and will help to construct evidence based guidelines.
Trial registration
The Netherlands Trial Register NTR3466
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-67
PMCID: PMC3610263  PMID: 23506128
Induction of labour; Oral misoprostol; Foley catheter; Asphyxia; Post partum haemorrhage; Hyperstimulation; Bishop score; Unfavourable cervix
5.  Pregnancy and Preeclampsia Affect Monocyte Subsets in Humans and Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45229.
Introduction
Both nonclassical and intermediate monocytes have been implicated in different inflammatory conditions. We hypothesized that these monocytes would increase during pregnancy, a condition associated with generalized activation of inflammatory responses and that they would increase even more during preeclampsia, in which inflammatory responses are further stimulated. In the present study we investigated changes in monocyte subsets during healthy pregnancy and preeclampsia in humans and rats.
Methods
Blood monocyte subsets of nonpregnant, preeclamptic and healthy pregnant women were identified with CD14 and CD16. In nonpregnant and pregnant rats, blood monocytes were identified with CD172a and CD43, as well as in rats infused with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a pro-inflammatory stimulus known to induce preeclampsia-like symptoms. Total and CD206-positive macrophages were quantified in placentas of these animals.
Results
Lower percentages of classical monocytes were found in pregnant women (91%–[83–98%]) compared to nonpregnant women (94%–[90–98%]) and even less in preeclamptic patients (90%–[61–92%]). In contrast, the percentage of combined nonclassical/intermediate monocytes was higher in pregnant women (8.5%–[2.3–16.6%] vs. 5.6%–[1.9–9.5%]) and even higher in preeclamptic patients (9.9%–[7.8–38.7%]), which was caused by a selective increase of intermediate monocytes. In rats, we also found lower percentages of classical monocytes and higher percentages of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant versus nonpregnant rats. ATP infusion increased the percentage of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats even further but not in nonpregnant rats. These nonclassical monocytes showed a more activated phenotype in pregnant ATP-infused rats only. Mesometrial triangles of ATP-infused rats had less CD206-positive macrophages as compared to those of saline-infused rats.
Conclusion
The higher percentage of nonclassical/intermediate monocytes found in pregnancy and preeclampsia confirms their association with inflammatory responses. The observation that ATP stimulated numbers/activation of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats only, suggests that nonclassical monocytes are specifically altered in pregnancy and may play a role in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045229
PMCID: PMC3441708  PMID: 23028864
6.  IMproving PArticipation of patients in Clinical Trials - rationale and design of IMPACT 
Background
One of the most commonly reported problems of randomised trials is that recruitment is usually slower than expected. Trials will cost more and take longer, thus delaying the use of the results in clinical practice, and incomplete samples imply decreased statistical power and usefulness of its results. We aim to identify barriers and facilitators for successful patient recruitment at the level of the patient, the doctor and the hospital organization as well as the organization and design of trials over a broad range of studies.
Methods/design
We will perform two cohort studies and a case-control study in the Netherlands. The first cohort study will report on a series of multicenter trials performed in a nationwide network of clinical trials in obstetrics and gynaecology. A questionnaire will be sent to all clinicians recruiting for these trials to identify determinants - aggregated at centre level - for the recruitment rate. In a case control-study nested in this cohort we will interview patients who refused or consented participation to identify factors associated with patients' consent or refusal. In a second cohort study, we will study trials that were prospectively registered in the Netherlands Trial Register. Using a questionnaire survey we will assess whether issues on hospital organization, trial organization, planning and trial design were associated with successful recruitment, i.e. 80% of the predefined number of patients recruited within the planned time.
Discussion
This study will provide insight in barriers and facilitators for successful patient recruitment in trials. The results will be used to provide recommendations and a checklist for individual trialists to identify potential pitfalls for recruitment and judge the feasibility prior to the start of the study. Identified barriers and motivators coupled to evidence-based interventions can improve recruitment of patients in clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-85
PMCID: PMC2955658  PMID: 20875119
7.  10-Year cardiovascular event risks for women who experienced hypertensive disorders in late pregnancy: the HyRAS study 
Background
Cardiovascular disease is the cause of death in 32% of women in the Netherlands. Prediction of an individual's risk for cardiovascular disease is difficult, in particular in younger women due to low sensitive and specific tests for these women. 10% to 15% of all pregnancies are complicated by hypertensive disorders, the vast majority of which develop only after 36 weeks of gestation. Preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease in later life show both features of "the metabolic syndrome" and atherosclerosis. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and cardiovascular disease may develop by common pathophysiologic pathways initiated by similar vascular risk factors. Vascular damage occurring during preeclampsia or gestational hypertension may contribute to the development of future cardiovascular disease, or is already present before pregnancy. At present clinicians do not systematically aim at the possible cardiovascular consequences in later life after a hypertensive pregnancy disorder at term. However, screening for risk factors after preeclampsia or gestational hypertension at term may give insight into an individual's cardiovascular risk profile.
Methods/Design
Women with a history of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension will be invited to participate in a cohort study 2 1/2 years after delivery. Participants will be screened for established modifiable cardiovascular risk indicators. The primary outcome is the 10-year cardiovascular event risk. Secondary outcomes include differences in cardiovascular parameters, SNP's in glucose metabolism, and neonatal outcome.
Discussion
This study will provide evidence on the potential health gains of a modifiable cardiovascular risk factor screening program for women whose pregnancy was complicated by hypertension or preeclampsia. The calculation of individual 10-year cardiovascular event risks will allow identification of those women who will benefit from primary prevention by tailored interventions, at a relatively young age.
Trial registration
The HYPITAT trial is registered in the clinical trial register as ISRCTN08132825.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-28
PMCID: PMC2889848  PMID: 20515501
8.  Antenatal allopurinol for reduction of birth asphyxia induced brain damage (ALLO-Trial); a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study 
Background
Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is associated with development of cerebral palsy and cognitive disability later in life and is therefore one of the fundamental problems in perinatal medicine. The xanthine-oxidase inhibitor allopurinol reduces the formation of free radicals, thereby limiting the amount of hypoxia-reperfusion damage. In case of suspected intra-uterine hypoxia, both animal and human studies suggest that maternal administration of allopurinol immediately prior to delivery reduces hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.
Methods/Design
The proposed trial is a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study in pregnant women at term in whom the foetus is suspected of intra-uterine hypoxia.
Allopurinol 500 mg IV or placebo will be administered antenatally to the pregnant woman when foetal hypoxia is suspected. Foetal distress is being diagnosed by the clinician as an abnormal or non-reassuring foetal heart rate trace, preferably accompanied by either significant ST-wave abnormalities (as detected by the STAN-monitor) or an abnormal foetal blood scalp sampling (pH < 7.20).
Primary outcome measures are the amount of S100B (a marker for brain tissue damage) and the severity of oxidative stress (measured by isoprostane, neuroprostane, non protein bound iron and hypoxanthine), both measured in umbilical cord blood. Secondary outcome measures are neonatal mortality, serious composite neonatal morbidity and long-term neurological outcome. Furthermore pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics will be investigated.
We expect an inclusion of 220 patients (110 per group) to be feasible in an inclusion period of two years. Given a suspected mean value of S100B of 1.05 ug/L (SD 0.37 ug/L) in the placebo group this trial has a power of 90% (alpha 0.05) to detect a mean value of S100B of 0.89 ug/L (SD 0.37 ug/L) in the 'allopurinol-treated' group (z-test2-sided). Analysis will be by intention to treat and it allows for one interim analysis.
Discussion
In this trial we aim to answer the question whether antenatal allopurinol administration reduces hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy in neonates exposed to foetal hypoxia.
Trial registration number
Clinical Trials, protocol registration system: NCT00189007
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-8
PMCID: PMC2834613  PMID: 20167117
9.  Cost-effectiveness of fibronectin testing in a triage in women with threatened preterm labor: alleviation of pregnancy outcome by suspending tocolysis in early labor (APOSTEL-I trial) 
Background
At present, women with threatened preterm labor before 32 weeks of gestation are, after transfer to a perinatal center, treated with tocolytics and corticosteroids. Many of these women are treated unnecessarily. Fibronectin is an accurate predictor for the occurrence of preterm birth among women with threatened preterm labor. We will assess whether triage of these women with fibronectin testing, cervical length or their combination is cost-effective.
Methods/Design
We will investigate a prospective cohort of women referred to a perinatal centre for spontaneous threatened preterm labor between 24 and 34 weeks with intact membranes. All women will be tested for fibronectin and cervical length. Women with a cervical length <10 mm and women with a cervical length between 10-30 mm in combination with a positive fibronectin test will be treated with tocolytics according to local protocol. Women with a cervical length between 10-30 mm in combination with a negative fibronectin test will be randomised between treatment with nifedipine (intervention) and placebo (control) for 48 hours. Women with a cervical length > 30 mm will be managed according to local protocol. Corticosteroids may be given to all women at the discretion of the attending physician. Primary outcome measure will be delivery within 7 days. Secondary outcome measures will be neonatal morbidity and mortality, complications of tocolytics, costs and health related quality of life. The analysis will be according to the intention to treat principle. We anticipate the probability on preterm birth within 7 days in the group of women with a negative fibronectine test to be 5%. Two groups of 110 women will be needed to assure that in case of non-inferiority the difference in the proportion of preterm deliveries < 7 days will be within a prespecified boundary of 7.5% (one sided test, β 0.2, α 0.05). Data obtained from women with a positive and negative fibronectin tests in both the cohort study and the trial will be integrated in a cost-effectiveness analysis that will assess economic consequences of the use of fibronectin.
Discussion
This study will provide evidence for the use of fibronectin testing as safe and cost-effective method in a triage for threatened preterm labor.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register (NTR) number 1857, .
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-38
PMCID: PMC2752451  PMID: 19723320
10.  Induction of labour versus expectant monitoring in women with pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia at term: the HYPITAT trial 
Background
Hypertensive disorders, i.e. pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia, complicate 10 to15% of all pregnancies at term and are a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The only causal treatment is delivery. In case of preterm pregnancies conservative management is advocated if the risks for mother and child remain acceptable. In contrast, there is no consensus on how to manage mild hypertensive disease in pregnancies at term. Induction of labour might prevent maternal and neonatal complications at the expense of increased instrumental vaginal delivery rates and caesarean section rates.
Methods/Design
Women with a pregnancy complicated by pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia at a gestational age between 36+0 and 41+0 weeks will be asked to participate in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial. Women will be randomised to either induction of labour or expectant management for spontaneous delivery. The primary outcome of this study is severe maternal morbidity, which can be complicated by maternal mortality in rare cases. Secondary outcome measures are neonatal mortality and morbidity, caesarean and vaginal instrumental delivery rates, maternal quality of life and costs. Analysis will be by intention to treat. In total, 720 pregnant women have to be randomised to show a reduction in severe maternal complications of hypertensive disease from 12 to 6%.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence as to whether or not induction of labour in women with pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia (nearly) at term is an effective treatment to prevent severe maternal complications.
Trial Registration
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number ISRCTN08132825.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-14
PMCID: PMC1950708  PMID: 17662114

Results 1-10 (10)