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J Perinatol. 2010 Oct;30 Suppl:S21-30. doi: 10.1038/jp.2010.96.

Chorioamnionitis: a multiorgan disease of the fetus?

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Klinikum Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany.


The bacterial infection of chorion and amnion is a common finding in premature delivery and is referred to as chorioamnionitis. As the mother rarely shows symptoms of a systemic inflammation, the course of chorioamnionitis is frequently asymptomatic and chronic. In contrast, the fetal inflammatory response syndrome represents a separate phenomenon, including umbilical inflammation and increased serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the fetus. Ascending maternal infections frequently lead to systemic fetal inflammatory reaction. Clinical studies have shown that antenatal exposure to inflammation puts the extremely immature neonates at a high risk for worsening pulmonary, neurological and other organ development. Interestingly, the presence of chorioamnionitis is associated with a lower rate of neonatal mortality in extremely immature newborns. In the following review, the pathogeneses of inflammation-associated perinatal morbidity are outlined. The concept of fetal multiorganic disease during intrauterine infection is introduced and discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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