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Genes that regulate maternal inflammatory response, bacterial vaginosis and preterm birth related

Study finds association between genes that regulate maternal inflammatory response, bacterial vaginosis and preterm delivery

In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in Chicago, researchers will show the use of haplotype tagging (hap-tag) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to study the relationship between genetic predispositions, an environmental factor - bacterial vaginosis, and preterm birth.

Studies previously demonstrated that genetic variation within genes that regulate the maternal inflammatory response are associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (SPTD). The new study sought to determine if an environmental exposure associated with maternal inflammation, bacterial vaginosis (BV), modifies these genetic susceptibilities.

The March of Dimes notes that babies born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy are called premature, and in the United States, about 12.8 percent of babies (more than half a million a year) are born prematurely.

The study that was conducted was a prospective cohort study in which maternal DNA samples were collected from 744 women, and demographics and outcomes data were recorded. Vaginal smears for Gram-staining were obtained from subjects at 26-28 wk gestation. It studied hap-tag SNPs in 5 BioCarta and KEGG pathways in which >3 SNPs were strongly associated (P
In the cohort, 68 women experienced SPTD at
"The result is that chip assays for hap-tag SNPs provide a powerful tool for studying genes related to preterm birth and increase our potential to find groups of SNPs in biologically relevant pathways that might cause preterm birth," said Dr. Samuel Parry, the study's author of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "It is unlikely that any single SNP is related with a large percentage of preterm births."

For interviews or a copy of the abstract please contact Vicki Bendure at or 202-374-9259.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (est. 1977) is a non-profit membership group for obstetricians/gynecologists who have additional formal education and training in maternal-fetal medicine. The society is devoted to reducing high-risk pregnancy complications by providing continuing education to its 2,000 members on the latest pregnancy assessment and treatment methods. It also serves as an advocate for improving public policy, and expanding research funding and opportunities for maternal-fetal medicine. The group hosts an annual scientific meeting in which new ideas and research in the area of maternal-fetal medicine are unveiled and discussed. For more information, visit

Vicki Bendure | EurekAlert!
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