Clues for predicting premature birth risk may be found in mother’s immune system, microbiome

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
x preemie baby in incubator
Image: Love To Know

For decades, researchers and clinicians have sought ways to predict and prevent preterm birth with little progress to show for it. “It’s extremely frustrating,” says neonatologist Sylvain Chemtob of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal, who has worked in the field for 35 years. The best predictor of preterm labor is whether a woman has experienced it before.

[Researchers] are looking to the human immune system for clues. “The immune system is exquisitely sensitive to all sorts of environmental changes,” he says, including the mother’s nutrition and stress. The immune system could be the biological common denominator for the many known and suspected factors that contribute to preterm labor.

Related article:  Alzheimer’s disease and drowsiness: Link could help us determine where the disease first attacks the brain

In a sample of mostly African-American women, 90 had delivered full-term and 45 had delivered preterm. The women who delivered preterm tended to have a more diverse mix of microbes than those who delivered at term, the group reported in June in Nature Medicine. …  The researchers suggest that microbiome changes could be a useful predictor of preterm labor risk. But because people’s microbiomes vary with geography and diet, among other things, no one microbiome profile will be predictive for everyone.

Read full, original post: Mom’s immune system and microbiome may help predict premature birth

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

In May, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) released new guidelines that relaxed the 14-day rule, taking away ...
Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.