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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Nov;183(5):1138-43.

Participation of the novel cytokine interleukin 18 in the host response to intra-amniotic infection.

Author information

  • 1Perinatology Research Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Interleukin 18 is a proinflammatory pleiotropic cytokine that has been implicated in the host defense against infection. This study was undertaken to determine whether interleukin 18 concentrations change in the maternal, fetal, and amniotic fluid compartments with labor (term and preterm) and microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity.

STUDY DESIGN:

Amniotic fluid was assayed for interleukin 18 in samples obtained from 285 patients in the following groups: (1) term not in labor (n = 22), in labor (n = 19), and with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 16); (2) preterm labor who delivered at term (n = 38), who delivered preterm but without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 41), and preterm labor with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 24); (3) preterm premature rupture of membranes without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 30) and with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 34); (4) term premature rupture of membranes not in labor (n = 20) and term premature rupture of membranes in labor (n = 19); and (5) midtrimester (n = 22). In addition, cord and maternal plasma samples from women at term not in labor (n = 20) and in labor (n = 20) were assayed for interleukin 18.

RESULTS:

(1) Interleukin 18 was detectable in all amniotic fluid samples and maternal and umbilical cord blood samples. (2) Interleukin 18 concentrations increased with advancing gestational age (r = 0.47; P <.0001). (3) Microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity in either preterm or term parturition was associated with a significant increase in the amniotic fluid concentration of interleukin 18 (preterm labor without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity: median, 14.95 pg/mL; range, 3.9-277.0 pg/mL; vs preterm labor with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity: median, 20.75 pg/mL; range, 5.53-160.21 pg/mL; P <.02; term labor without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity: median, 18.73 pg/mL; range, 5.09-95.44 pg/mL; vs term labor with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity: median, 24.35 pg/mL; range, 10.07-144.42 pg/mL; P<.004). (4) Both term and preterm parturition were associated with a modest increase in amniotic fluid interleukin 18 concentrations, although this trend did not reach statistical significance. (5) Rupture of membranes at term was associated with a significant decrease in amniotic fluid interleukin 18 concentrations (intact membranes: median, 14.96 pg/mL; range, <3.89-26.07 pg/mL; vs rupture of membranes: median, 10.1 pg/mL; range, 4.29-21.44 pg/mL; P <.001).

CONCLUSION:

(1) Interleukin 18 is increased in cases of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. (2) Interleukin 18 is detectable in the amniotic, maternal, and fetal compartments. (3) We propose that this novel cytokine plays a role in the host defense against infection.

PMID:
11084555
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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