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Placenta. 2009 Mar;30(3):207-15. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2008.12.007. Epub 2009 Jan 18.

Connective tissue and related disorders and preterm birth: clues to genes contributing to prematurity.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


To identify candidate genes contributing to preterm birth, we examined the existing literature on the association between known disorders of connective tissue synthesis and metabolism and related diseases and prematurity. Our hypothesis was that abnormal matrix metabolism contributes to prematurity by increasing risk of preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) and cervical incompetence. Based on this review, we identified gene mutations inherited by the fetus that could predispose to preterm birth as a result of PPROM. The responsible genes include COL5A1, COL5A2, COL3A1, COL1A1, COL1A2, TNXB, PLOD1, ADAMTS2, CRTAP, LEPRE1 and ZMPSTE24. Marfan syndrome, caused by FBN1 mutations, and polymorphisms in the COL1A1 and TGFB1 genes have been associated with cervical incompetence. We speculate that an analysis of sequence variation at the loci noted above will reveal polymorphisms that may contribute to susceptibility to PPROM and cervical incompetence in the general population.

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