Specific inflammatory profile in each pregnancy complication: A comparative study

Marie Eve Brien, Ines Boufaied, Nathalie Bernard, Jean Claude Forest, Yves Giguere, Sylvie Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: Pre-eclampsia (PE), preterm birth (PTB) and intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) affect 5%-12% of pregnancies. They have been associated with placental inflammation, although the detection of inflammatory mediators in the maternal circulation is still controversial. Our goal was to determine the inflammatory changes occurring in the second part of pregnancy to identify profiles distinguishing pathological pregnancies from each other. Method of Study: We performed a nested case-control study of 200 women randomly selected from a cohort recruited at the CHU de Quebec-Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada. Women with uncomplicated term pregnancy (CTRL); PE (severe or not); PTB or IUGR (N = 50/each) were included. Plasma samples, obtained from the late second trimester and at delivery, were analysed for over 30 selected mediators (including cytokines/alarmins), by multiplex, ELISA or specific assays. Demographic and obstetrical information were obtained for classification. Results: In CTRL, we observed significant differences between 2nd trimester and delivery, with increased levels of inflammatory mediators (ex. MCP-1, IL-6), supporting an inflammatory profile towards term. Increased levels of IL-6, CXCL10 and CRP were observed in PE as compared to CTRL. In PTB, we observed increased CXCL9 in 2nd trimester and decreased progesterone at delivery. In IUGR, increased HMGB1 and IL-1α were observed only in the 2nd trimester. Conclusions: Our work showed significant inflammatory changes in uncomplicated pregnancies towards delivery, supporting that normal delivery is pro-inflammatory, although not to the same extent as in pathological pregnancies. Inflammatory profiles are specific to each pregnancy complication which may help to understand the contribution of inflammation to the clinical presentation of these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13316
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • alarmins
  • cytokine
  • inflammation
  • inflammatory mediators
  • intra-uterine growth restriction
  • pre-eclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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