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New proteomic method to detect inflammation in amniotic fluid

A score that measures the proteomic profile of amniotic fluid may predict inflammation before delivery. Researchers from Yale University, led by Catalin Buhimschi, have previously identified a set of four protein markers that were closely associated with inflammation in the amniotic fluid, and developed a score based on these proteins ­the “Mass Restricted” (MR) score.

This score has been shown to be able to identify women at risk of preterm delivery. In the current study, the researchers assessed whether MR scores were associated with the outcome of pregnancy; the presence of infection in the placenta, and severe infection in the newborn baby.

169 women recruited into the study had a sample of amniotic fluid taken as part of their routine clinical management from which the protein MR score was calculated, and evidence of bacterial infection was sought. These results were then related to length of time until delivery, presence of placental inflammation after birth, and whether there was evidence of infection in the babies. In line with findings from their previous studies, women with a higher MR score gave birth sooner. There was also agreement between the MR score and evidence of inflammation in the placenta, and mothers with a high MR score were more likely to give birth to babies with suspected or confirmed sepsis.

In this group of women, the MR score seemed to be the most accurate in predicting inflammation when compared with other tests for inflammation such as white cell count, and may therefore provide a useful test for recognizing women at risk of preterm delivery and babies at risk of poor outcome. However, although promising, a further evaluation of the test in different populations will be needed before it could become a standard procedure in the clinic.

Citation: Buhimschi CS, Bhandari V, Hamar BD, Bahtiyar MO, Zhao G, et al. (2007) Proteomic profiling of the amniotic fluid to detect inflammation, infection, and neonatal sepsis. PLoS Med 4(1): e18.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
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