Patterns of peripheral cytokine expression during pregnancy in two cohorts and associations with inflammatory markers in cord blood

Kharah Mac Kenzie Ross*, Gregory Miller, Jennifer Culhane, William Grobman, Hyagriv N. Simhan, Pathik D. Wadhwa, Douglas Williamson, Thomas McDade, Claudia Buss, Sonja Entringer, Emma Adam, Sameen Qadir, Lauren Keenan-Devlin, Adam K K Leigh, Ann Borders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Problem: Maternal inflammation undergoes adaptations during pregnancy, and excessive inflammation has been associated with adverse outcomes. One mechanism may be maternal inflammation transmission to the fetal compartment. Links between maternal pregnancy inflammation and fetal inflammation are poorly characterized. Method: Principal components analysis was used to extract underlying inflammation components across cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-13, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α) in two pregnancy cohorts (SPAH N=87, MOMS N=539) assessed during the second and third trimesters. Links between maternal inflammation over pregnancy and fetal (cord blood) inflammation were assessed. Results: Substantial cytokine rank-order stability was observed in both cohorts, β's range.47-.96, P's <.001. Two consistent inflammatory components were extracted: a pro-inflammatory (IL-10, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, IFN-γ) component and anti-inflammatory (IL-13) component. Higher maternal pro-inflammatory and lower anti-inflammatory indices during pregnancy were associated with higher cord blood inflammation, P's>.04. Conclusion: Maternal inflammation indices over pregnancy were associated with inflammation in cord blood at birth. Results have implications for understanding pregnancy inflammatory processes and how maternal inflammation may be transmitted to fetal circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-414
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • cord blood
  • inflammation
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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