Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein analysis of amniotic fluid reveals clues about preterm birth

02.03.2005


Identifying protein biomarkers predicts success for cervical stitching



Doctors treating pregnant women with threatened preterm birth sometimes sew the cervix closed, a procedure known as cerclage. Despite this traditional intervention, many women still lose the pregnancy. While the causes of preterm labor are not well understood, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Yale University report that they can now predict who will benefit from cerclage by rapidly identifying the presence of several distinct proteins in amniotic fluid. Study results will be published in the March 1 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"We looked at a group of women with pregnancies between 18 to 22 weeks. These women had a condition called incompetent cervix, where their cervix dilates in the absence of labor," says Carl P. Weiner, M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.


The researchers tested the amniotic fluid for four distinct proteins they previously had linked to inflammation, a known cause of preterm labor. "Women with these four protein biomarkers went on to deliver early even though their cervix was sewn shut. And, for the first time, our research identified another protein biomarker in the amniotic fluid, this one linked to decidual hemorrhage or bleeding into the lining of the uterus," explains Dr. Weiner who is a maternal/fetal medicine specialist at the Center for Advanced Fetal Care at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Women with the biomarker for decidual hemorrhage also went on to deliver early, despite efforts to stop preterm labor."

Researchers believe these protein biomarkers will not only allow doctors to predict whose preterm labor can be stopped, but that the identification of these proteins opens a window of understanding into the causes of preterm labor. With that knowledge, they hope to develop more effective treatments for preterm birth.

Dr. Weiner says, "Right now, drug therapies, compared to placebo, can at best delay delivery by 48 to 72 hours. And, as we’ve shown, cerclage, or sewing the cervix closed, won’t help women with the biomarkers for either inflammation or decidual hemorrhage. This research takes us a giant step forward into mapping out the mechanisms of preterm birth and perhaps finding new ways to attack the problem."

Dr. Weiner notes that for the women whose amniotic fluid did not contain the protein biomarkers, cerclage helped them carry their pregnancies further to term or near term. However, about 50 percent of them still went on to deliver prematurely. "This shows that there are other causes, besides inflammation and decidual hemorrhage, that lead to preterm birth, suggesting additional biomarkers will be found," explains Dr. Weiner.

Because preterm birth may result from a range of problems, researchers suspect that successful treatment will require combination therapy. "There probably isn’t a single, magic bullet that will prevent preterm birth. We need to expand our horizons. Right now, it appears a combination of treatments will prove the key to success," says Dr. Weiner.

Another important component of this protein analysis is that it can be performed quickly. Recent laboratory advances will allow doctors to get test results in about one hour. Dr. Weiner and his colleagues worked with proteomic chip technology from Ciphergen Inc. to develop this new method of protein analysis called MR scoring.

In the United States, about 11 percent of women deliver preterm, and about three percent deliver before 32 weeks, resulting in high infant mortality rates. Normal gestation for pregnancy is about 40 weeks.

Dr. Weiner’s co-investigators for the study were Keun-Young Lee, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University, Seoul, Korea; Catalin S. Buhimschi, M.D., and Irina A. Buhimschi, M.D., Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, CT; and Rob Christner, Ph.D., Ciphergen Biosystems, Fremont, CA.

Sharon Boston | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umm.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>