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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Jan;178(1 Pt 1):50-3.

Cytokine and prostaglandin production by amnion cells in response to the addition of different bacteria.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.



Our goal was to evaluate the effect of Escherichia coli, Bacteroides fragilis, Mycoplasma hominis, and Staphylococcus aureus on cytokine and prostaglandin production by amnion cells in vitro.


Amnion cells were obtained from women undergoing elective cesarean section before the onset of labor and cultured in a primary cell culture. Confluent amnion cells were incubated with heat-inactivated bacteria in different concentrations (10(1) to 10(6) colony-forming units/ml) for 48 hours. Samples for quantification of interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and prostaglandin E2 were collected at 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours.


Under basal conditions, minor amounts of interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 were detectable. Incubation of amnion cells with E. coli enhanced the secretion of interleukin-8 and also induced an transient increase of prostaglandin E2 in a dose-dependent manner. B. fragilis produced an increase in the secretion of interleukin-6 and interleukin-8. M. hominis and S. aureus did not cause an increase in either interleukin-6, interleukin-8, or prostaglandin E2.


The gram-negative bacteria E. coli and B. fragilis stimulated interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 to a greater degree than the other bacteria investigated in this study. This finding may be of clinical interest in the onset of preterm birth.

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