The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Bacterial DNA has been reported in the placenta and amniotic fluid by several independent groups of investigators. However, it's taxonomic overlap with fetal and maternal bacterial DNA in different sites has been poorly characterized. Here, we determined the presence of bacterial DNA in the intestines and placentas of fetal mice at gestational day 17 (n = 13). These were compared to newborn intestines (n = 15), maternal sites (mouth, n = 6; vagina, n = 6; colon, n = 7; feces, n = 8), and negative controls to rule out contamination. The V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene indicated a pattern of bacterial DNA in fetal intestine similar to placenta but with higher phylogenetic diversity than placenta or newborn intestine. Firmicutes were the most frequently assignable phylum. SourceTracker analysis suggested the placenta as the most commonly identifiable origin for fetal bacterial DNA, but also over 75% of fetal gut genera overlapped with maternal oral and vaginal taxa but not with maternal or newborn feces. These data provide evidence for the presence of bacterial DNA in the mouse fetus.
PROBLEM - Premature birth complicates 10%-12% of deliveries. Infection and inflammation are the most common etiologies and are associated with increased offspring morbidity and mortality. We hypothesize that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced maternal inflammation causes direct placenta injury and subsequent injury to the fetal intestine.
METHOD OF STUDY - Pregnant C57Bl6 mice were injected intraperitoneally on day 15.5 with 100 μg/kg LPS or saline. Maternal serum, amniotic fluid, placental samples, and ileal samples of offspring were obtained assessed for inflammation and/or injury. Maternal placental ultrasounds were performed. Placental DNA was isolated for microbiome analysis.
RESULTS - Maternal injection with LPS caused elevated IL-1β, IL-10, IL-6, KC-GRO, and TNF. Placental tissue showed increased IL-1β, IL-6, and KC-GRO and decreased IL-10, but no changes were observed in amniotic fluid. Placental histology demonstrated LPS-induced increases in mineralization and necrosis, but no difference in placental blood flow. Most placentas had no detectable microbiome. Exposure to maternal LPS induced significant injury to the ilea of the offspring.
CONCLUSION - Lipopolysaccharide causes a maternal inflammatory response that is mirrored in the placenta. Placental histology demonstrates structural changes; however, placental blood flow is preserved. LPS also induces an indirect intestinal injury in the offspring that lasts beyond the neonatal period.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Healthy pregnancy depends on proper placentation-including proliferation, differentiation, and invasion of trophoblast cells-which, if impaired, causes placental ischemia resulting in intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia. Mechanisms regulating trophoblast invasion, however, are unknown. We report that reduction of ( alters intracellular trafficking and significantly impairs invasion in a model of human extravillous trophoblasts. Furthermore, global loss of in mice recapitulates maternal and fetal phenotypes of placental insufficiency. dams have reduced spiral artery numbers and late gestational hypertension with resolution following delivery. fetuses are growth restricted and demonstrate changes in umbilical artery Doppler consistent with poor placental perfusion and fetal distress. Loss of increases fetal vascular density in the placenta and dysregulates trophoblast expression of angiogenic factors. Our data support a critical regulatory role for in trophoblast invasion-a necessary process for placentation-representing a possible future target for improving placentation and fetal outcomes.
Many developmental functions in marsupials and eutherian mammals are accomplished by different tissues, but similar genes.
Evidence has been presented for auto-induced human cytochrome P450 3A enzyme involvement in the teratogenicity and clinical outcome of thalidomide due to oxidation to 5-hydroxythalidomide and subsequent metabolic activation in livers. In this study, more relevant human placenta preparations and placental BeWo cells showed low but detectable P450 3A4/5 mRNA expression and drug oxidation activities. Human placental microsomal fractions from three subjects showed detectable midazolam 1´- and 4-hydroxylation and thalidomide 5-hydroxylation activities. Human placental BeWo cells, cultured in the recommended media, also indicated detectable midazolam 1´- and 4-hydroxylation and thalidomide 5-hydroxylation activities. To reduce any masking effects by endogenous hormones used in the recommended media, induction of P450 3A4/5 mRNA and oxidation activities were measured in placental BeWo cells cultured with a modified medium containing 5% charcoal-stripped fetal bovine serum. Thalidomide significantly induced P450 3A4/5, 2B6, and pregnane X receptor (PXR) mRNA levels 2 to 3-fold, but rifampicin only enhanced P450 3A5 and PXR mRNA under the modified media conditions. Under these modified conditions, thalidomide also significantly induced midazolam 1´-hydroxylation and thalidomide 5-hydroxylaion activities 3-fold but not bupropion hydroxylation activity. Taken together, activation of thalidomide to 5-hydroxythalidomide with autoinduction of P450 3A enzymes in human placentas, as well as livers, is suggested in vivo.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-transmitted flavivirus that can cause severe disease, including congenital birth defects during pregnancy. To develop candidate therapeutic agents against ZIKV, we isolated a panel of human monoclonal antibodies from subjects that were previously infected with ZIKV. We show that a subset of antibodies recognize diverse epitopes on the envelope (E) protein and exhibit potent neutralizing activity. One of the most inhibitory antibodies, ZIKV-117, broadly neutralized infection of ZIKV strains corresponding to African and Asian-American lineages. Epitope mapping studies revealed that ZIKV-117 recognized a unique quaternary epitope on the E protein dimer-dimer interface. We evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of ZIKV-117 in pregnant and non-pregnant mice. Monoclonal antibody treatment markedly reduced tissue pathology, placental and fetal infection, and mortality in mice. Thus, neutralizing human antibodies can protect against maternal-fetal transmission, infection and disease, and reveal important determinants for structure-based rational vaccine design efforts.
Biomarker, neuroimaging, and genetic findings implicate the serotonin transporter (SERT) in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Previously, we found that adult male mice expressing the autism-associated SERT Ala56 variant have altered central serotonin (5-HT) system function, as well as elevated peripheral blood 5-HT levels. Early in gestation, before midbrain 5-HT projections have reached the cortex, peripheral sources supply 5-HT to the forebrain, suggesting that altered maternal or placenta 5-HT system function could impact the developing embryo. We therefore used different combinations of maternal and embryo SERT Ala56 genotypes to examine effects on blood, placenta and embryo serotonin levels and neurodevelopment at embryonic day E14.5, when peripheral sources of 5-HT predominate, and E18.5, when midbrain 5-HT projections have reached the forebrain. Maternal SERT Ala56 genotype was associated with decreased placenta and embryonic forebrain 5-HT levels at E14.5. Low 5-HT in the placenta persisted, but forebrain levels normalized by E18.5. Maternal SERT Ala56 genotype effects on forebrain 5-HT levels were accompanied by a broadening of 5-HT-sensitive thalamocortical axon projections. In contrast, no effect of embryo genotype was seen in concepti from heterozygous dams. Blood 5-HT levels were dynamic across pregnancy and were increased in SERT Ala56 dams at E14.5. Placenta RNA sequencing data at E14.5 indicated substantial impact of maternal SERT Ala56 genotype, with alterations in immune and metabolic-related pathways. Collectively, these findings indicate that maternal SERT function impacts offspring placental 5-HT levels, forebrain 5-HT levels, and neurodevelopment.
Staphylococcus aureus, a metabolically flexible gram-positive pathogen, causes infections in a variety of tissues. Recent evidence implicates S. aureus as an emerging cause of chorioamnionitis and premature rupture of membranes, which are associated with preterm birth and neonatal disease. We demonstrate here that S. aureus infects and forms biofilms on the choriodecidual surface of explanted human gestational membranes. Concomitantly, S. aureus elicits the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which could ultimately perturb maternal-fetal tolerance during pregnancy. Therefore, targeting the immunological response to S. aureus infection during pregnancy could attenuate disease among infected individuals, especially in the context of antibiotic resistance.
Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
INTRODUCTION - A major issue in the transcriptomic study of spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) in humans is the inability to collect healthy control tissue at the same gestational age (GA) to compare with pathologic preterm tissue. Thus, gene expression differences identified after the standard comparison of sPTB and term tissues necessarily reflect differences in both sPTB pathology and GA. One potential solution is to use GA-matched controls from a closely related species to tease apart genes that are dysregulated during sPTB from genes that are expressed differently as a result of GA effects.
METHODS - To disentangle genes whose expression levels are associated with sPTB pathology from those linked to GA, we compared RNA sequencing data from human preterm placentas, human term placentas, and rhesus macaque placentas at 80% completed gestation (serving as healthy non-human primate GA-matched controls). We first compared sPTB and term human placental transcriptomes to identify significantly differentially expressed genes. We then overlaid the results of the comparison between human sPTB and macaque placental transcriptomes to identify sPTB-specific candidates. Finally, we overlaid the results of the comparison between human term and macaque placental transcriptomes to identify GA-specific candidates.
RESULTS - Examination of relative expression for all human genes with macaque orthologs identified 267 candidate genes that were significantly differentially expressed between preterm and term human placentas. 29 genes were identified as sPTB-specific candidates and 37 as GA-specific candidates. Altogether, the 267 differentially expressed genes were significantly enriched for a variety of developmental, metabolic, reproductive, immune, and inflammatory functions. Although there were no notable differences between the functions of the 29 sPTB-specific and 37 GA-specific candidate genes, many of these candidates have been previously shown to be dysregulated in diverse pregnancy-associated pathologies.
DISCUSSION - By comparing human sPTB and term transcriptomes with GA-matched control transcriptomes from a closely related species, this study disentangled the confounding effects of sPTB pathology and GA, leading to the identification of 29 promising sPTB-specific candidate genes and 37 genes potentially related to GA effects. The apparent similarity in functions of the sPTB and GA candidates may suggest that the effects of sPTB and GA do not correspond to biologically distinct processes. Alternatively, it may reflect the poor state of knowledge of the transcriptional landscape underlying placental development and disease.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Progress in understanding complex genetic diseases has been bolstered by synthetic approaches that overlay diverse data types and analyses to identify functionally important genes. Pre-term birth (PTB), a major complication of pregnancy, is a leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. A major obstacle in addressing PTB is that the mechanisms controlling parturition and birth timing remain poorly understood. Integrative approaches that overlay datasets derived from comparative genomics with function-derived ones have potential to advance our understanding of the genetics of birth timing, and thus provide insights into the genes that may contribute to PTB. We intersected data from fast evolving coding and non-coding gene regions in the human and primate lineage with data from genes expressed in the placenta, from genes that show enriched expression only in the placenta, as well as from genes that are differentially expressed in four distinct PTB clinical subtypes. A large fraction of genes that are expressed in placenta, and differentially expressed in PTB clinical subtypes (23-34%) are fast evolving, and are associated with functions that include adhesion neurodevelopmental and immune processes. Functional categories of genes that express fast evolution in coding regions differ from those linked to fast evolution in non-coding regions. Finally, there is a surprising lack of overlap between fast evolving genes that are differentially expressed in four PTB clinical subtypes. Integrative approaches, especially those that incorporate evolutionary perspectives, can be successful in identifying potential genetic contributions to complex genetic diseases, such as PTB.